You might have heard that Verizon and Googlewere working on a net-neutrality deal recently. They came up with a proposal in which broadband providers could be penalized if they are discriminating/blocking against particular types of data/applications in the way that data transport is prioritized. However, they did disagree on whether or not the same rules should apply to wireless networks. You can guess that Verizon would rather not become a “dumb pipe” in the wireless space, even if they realize that it is too late to turn the tide for land lines. They argue that the wireless market is still too immature to decide if net neutrality should apply for not.
If you don’t know what net-neutrality is, it’s the idea that broadband providers should handle all data packets the same way, without discriminating/blocking or attempting to charge the originator of the data. In a net-neutral model, the end-user (you and I) are the only ones paying. In a world where the net would not be neutral anymore, broadband providers could charge internet companies to be given priority (or access!), for example. Some argue that net neutrality favors innovation because every developer start on an equal footing with established players. Broadband providers argue that some applications use too much bandwidth and it’s unfair to them.
My own take is that net neutrality is a good thing, and if broadband providers can’t make enough money of it, they should raise the price paid by the end-user, including users that use “too much” according to them. Then let the market sort things out. In reality, there’s always a competitor aiming at taking that customer away, so broadband providers are simply trying to make a good business even juicier by charging both users and internet companies. Whether politicians understand the situation and are working for the customer’s best interest remains to be seen.
More on this subject on the web, Google official statement, Joint proposal to the FCC