Paid priority access not to the reception of Internet content but to the speed of distribution of content via the Internet.
Google and Verizon, one of the largest Internet providers in the USA, are engaged in secret talks to work out a deal where the delivery of Internet content is slowed down or sped up (prioritized, in the terminology of the deal) depending on whether or not the ISP is being paid for that delivery.
Net Neutrality: Equal Access For All Internet Players
Net neutrality is an equal opportunity concept wherein all types of Internet data (video, audio, images, text, email, etc.) from any source (Amazon, eBay or your aunts blog) receive the same level of access to the Internet highway.
It means that ISPs are expected not to block or slow down specific web sites, Internet services or specific types of content in favor of others.
What Google & Verizon Want
Some ISPs have been saying that their Internet highways are getting too full and that companies and services that would like to go from point A (your web site) to point B (a customer browsing your web site) should pay to have their priority access to the Internet.
While Google has been vocal in decrying this idea, even asking US citizens to take action against it, it now tentatively is working out a deal with Verizon which in all but wording would be the effective end of Net Neutrality.
Google and Verizon, two leading players in Internet service and content, are nearing an agreement that could allow Verizon to speed some online content to Internet users more quickly if the contents creators are willing to pay for the privilege.
— New York Times, Aug. 4, 2010
Additionally, the agreement would specifically exclude mobile Internet, such as accessed via your mobile telephone, from any Net Neutrality limitations. Google makes the software that powers many of the telephones Verizon sells.
The types of content they speed up or slow down, or the content providers they speed up or slow down, will impact not only how you would reach your US-based customers.
These large US ISPs are part of the core infrastructure that makes up the essence of the world wide Internet. World wide traffic is routed through their systems; hosting your video with an ISP paying provider may become beneficial even when not targeted at the US market.
Content delivery networks such as Akaima stand to benefit: they have the leverage and capital to get major deals with ISPs in place.
Web hosting itself may change. We would see service providers that through paid deals with ISPs would guarantee speedy delivery of your sites content.
Scenario One: YouTube vs. other video channels
If YouTube, owned by Google, would pay Verizon for priority access (speedy delivery of its content), its videos would swiftly download to a viewers computers while videos hosted elsewhere would be slow, slowed, or " potentially " slowed down.
For competitors of YouTube such as Vimeo it would mean an impossibly unequal playing field only made worse by the fact that potential customers/users considering where to host their videos would opt increasingly for YouTube as its content would be so much faster.
Scenario Two: Amazon vs. your store
A page at Amazon.com can easily be 1 megabyte in size. It being one of the worlds most popular e-stores and one of the most visited web sites, you can imagine the sheer amount of Amazon traffic ISPs move around.
If Amazon would pay to ensure its content would have priority access to a narrowing Internet pipeline while your ecommerce web site cannot pay such fees " how would that play out in your pockets?
Scenario Three: Images vs. Video
If an ISP throttles certain types of Internet content, like videos which take up huge amounts of Internet bandwidth, but favor smaller images " which marketing vehicle would you choose?
What Does This Mean To You
Actionably? Keep your content compact.
The growth of broadband (DSL, cable) over narrowband (dial-up) Internet access has seen a growth in the content we deliver over the Internet; you can watch a complete movie over the web these days.
That doesnt mean that your sites content can or should be as big as it takes. Whether or not there would be an end to Net Neutrality, the physical limitations of the nets distribution channels have always placed their own limitations.
Speedy delivery of your web pages is important now. Not just because Google favors speedy sites or because site speed is good for indexation and usability but also because mobile data networks are overloaded, mobile telephones are slow browsers. Keeping your sites pages compact and snappy means instant delivery on any connection " not just at home at the desktop.
- Net Neutrality: This is serious, Sir Tim Berners-Lee (inventor of the world wide web)
- Google, Verizon Try to Shape Net-Neutrality Law, Wall Street Journal
- Verizon, Google make net neutrality pact, sources say, Washington Post
- Some thoughts on the Google/Verizon deal