The United State's Federal Communications Commission headed by former Cable lobbyist Tom Wheeler, has created a new proposal for "net neutrality" after throwing out the long-standing net neutrality rules that we have enjoyed for over a decade. Then senator Barack Obama pledged to pass net-neutrality legislation as one of the cornerstones of his "Change We Can Believe In" campaign.
Net neutrality has traditionally stood for a simple principal. No traffic on the internet, no matter where it is going, will be censored or throttled. This means that no traffic gets preferential treatment from ISPs whether it is E-mail, Netflix, Facebook, or grandma's peanut brittle recipe.
The new proposal directly asserts that Internet Providers can create a "fast lane" to services and charge websites and web services extra money to pay for the faster lane to their content. It is literally the exact opposite of net neutrality.
While this seems harmless at first it creates tremendous incentives to further break down the equal treatment rules of the internet. The problem with this move is that ISP's will now be charging at "both ends" of their networks, and explicitly legalizes the tactics of Comcast to give intentionally poor peering to services in order to coerce them into paying for better peering.
A great example of this new legal form of extortion is Comcast and Verizon forcing bad routes and peering on their networks, and then trying to charge companies like Netflix and Cogent exorbitant sums of money to get better peering to their networks. Essentially this allows companies like Comcast to not only extort providers, but it also allows them to make excuses for not upgrading their networks.
Comcast and Verizon customers already pay for services. The agreement is that you give me a connection to the internet, at an agreed upon speed, and you pay for that service. Things like subscriber density are not supposed to be your problem. If Verizon crams 10,000 more people onto their network, then they are supposed to make a good faith effort to upgrade their infrastructure to support those new users. If these new subscribers saturate a route a major service, like the path to Netflix servers, they need to upgrade their infrastructure to those major services.
The problem is the cable ISPs and telcos want more money to upgrade their infrastructure and peering. They want to force Netflix to pay money for better pathing to their servers.
On the surface that sounds reasonable, until you realize that Netflix has offered them expensive caching systems for free, which serve up Netflix content from the local area, and dramatically decreases the bandwidth used through peering as most Netflix content would then reside directly on the Comcast and Verizon network. Comcast and Verizon have both refused the cache systems. What this spells out is that Verizon and Comcast are not interested in improving the service to Netflix. They are interested in making Netflix pay money to make them less competitive.
These moves are not "net-neutrality" any more than the "patriot act" is about patriotism. This is net discrimination. Even the FCC themselves have publicly stated as recently as 2010 that net neutrality is absolutely essential.