A recent Senate hearing in Washington D.C. debated the issue of "network neutrality" in the delivery of broadband Internet services to consumers.
A main argument for non-neutrality raised at the hearings was that if a service provider wants to offer a premium video service with an improved quality of connection and content under their own control, they should be allowed to do it.
(See U.S. government debates open access Internet vs. favored multimedia content.)
What a joke! When it comes to cable-TV delivery of broadband, this whole issue of Internet "neutrality" has it completely backwards. To pre-suppose that the system today is currently neutral to content is preposterous.
Today's system is already totally non-neutral. Take a look at any digital cable-TV system, and you'll see dozens of video channels dedicated to content selected by the system's owner receiving favorable, non-neutral, higher-quality delivery. Another large chunk of the available bandwidth is devoted to video on demand, another premium-quality service (in bandwidth and reliability) with content selected by the cable system owner. Then, a small sliver of the remaining bandwidth of the cable system -- less than 10% -- is devoted to the open-access, "neutral" Internet, in which all content is technically treated equally.
The real question that should be asked -- but no one dared to at the hearing -- is why don't the cable TV systems operate their Video On Demand (VOD) systems on a "neutral" basis, so that independent filmmakers and news organizations could sell their programs on the same playing field that Hollywood and the big media conglomerates use to get their products out? Why don't cable-TV systems open up the other 90% of their bandwidth to outsiders?
Now that would be network neutrality!