Today we're talking about an issue that's been in the news a lot in the past few days: Net neutrality -- the concept of a network infrastructure that is nondiscriminatory when it comes to types and sources and the content of Internet traffic. To support Net neutrality is to support freedom, openness, fair competition, and economic growth, according to supporters. On the other hand, somebody's got to pay for the Internet, both its wires and its wireless towers and radios. Who should that be? And if someone's paying for it, shouldn't they have some say in what goes over their equipment? Isn't telling businesses what they have to do with their privately built infrastructure antibusiness, antigrowth, and short-sighted?
That's the fundamental argument over Net neutrality, and there are some interesting specifics being added to the dialogue. Most recently, Google and Verizon produced what the two companies want to serve as a framework for Net neutrality going forward. AT&T has endorsed this proposal. Facebook has come out against it.
Today we're going to talk about these developments, and look at Net neutrality overall. How we got to where we are, where we're going, and who the actors are in the debate.
My guests today are two regular writers on the topic. First, here in the studio, Larry Downes, a well-known writer and thinker about emerging technology and policy issues. He's the author of the books "Laws of Disruption" and "Unleashing the Killer App," and writes frequently on CNET as well as on other publications about Net neutrality.
Joining us from our New York bureau is CNET writer Maggie Reardon. Maggie reports regularly on telecommunications policy and technology issues for CNET, and was on our show most recently about a month ago when we were discussing the iPhone 4 antenna issues.
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