How to save net neutrality

US President Barack Obama is fighting a battle to preserve the concept of net neutrality. He should have a chat with Internode managing director Simon Hackett.

US President Barack Obama is fighting a battle to preserve the concept of net neutrality. He should have a chat with Internode managing director Simon Hackett.

The crux of the net neutrality debate revolves around service providers prioritising traffic from companies they form partnerships with. For example, video from Netflix could arrive with a quality of service commitment, whilst other video content is compromised.

It's a complex issue. Internet service providers (ISPs) the world over are forming partnerships with content providers, but most would argue that they are still offering access to the broader internet. But what if those deals see the ISPs slow their infrastructure investment?

Tim Karr is the campaign director at lobby group Free Press. On this week's Twisted Wire he says interest groups are lobbying the Congress to overturn a recent FCC ruling (PDF) that advocates three rules for neutrality:

  1. Transparency
  2. No blocking
  3. No unreasonable discrimination

We also hear from Dr Kenny Ching from the University of Florida. His paper, "The Debate on Net Neutrality: A Policy Perspective", argues that the commercial pressures arise from how costs are allocated. Rather than turning to content providers, service providers should be offered government assistance to ensure network investment.

He might be right; after all, the Aussie government is doing just that. However, Hackett, founder of Internode, says the issue gets down to America's insistence on unlimited downloads. Here we charge according to usage — providing service providers with the money to invest in infrastructure, paid for by those who use it the most.

Does that mean we won't face the issue of free and open access influenced by content partnerships formed with service providers? Tell us what you think on the Twisted Wire feedback line on (02) 9304 5198.

Running time: 33 minutes, 43 seconds