The concept of “net neutrality” was in the news a lot earlier this year, and was the subject of a few posts at slaw.
In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission is currently working on developing new regulations for broadband internet providers. The Federal Department of Justice recently filed submissions with the FCC arguing in favour of a “non-neutral” internet where internet providers could charge content providers for faster or more reliable service.
Their position is clear: “The Department submits… that free market competition, unfettered by unnecessary governmental regulatory restraints, is the best way to foster innovation and development of the Internet. Free market competition drives scarce resources to their fullest and most efficient use, spurring businesses to invest in and sell as efficiently as possible the kinds and quality of goods and services that consumers desire.” They make an analogy to postal services, where someone sending a package has options as to the speed and method of delivery.
For the opposite side of the story, read this FAQ from a group lobbying in favour of net neutrality, or watch the video posted here by Simon earlier this year.