I’ve spoken about indications of two tier internet before, here are a couple of other articles; one in the same direction and one probably related.
Under the plans they are considering, all of us—from content providers to individual users—would pay more to surf online, stream videos or even send e-mail. Industry planners are mulling new subscription plans that would further limit the online experience, establishing “platinum,” “gold” and “silver” levels of Internet access that would set limits on the number of downloads, media streams or even e-mail messages that could be sent or received.— The End of the Internet?
To ward off the prospect of virtual toll booths on the information highway, some new media companies and public-interest groups are calling for new federal policies requiring “network neutrality” on the Internet.— The End of the Internet?
In theory that’s only carriers in the States but of course, that affects everyone, you can’t really run the internet without them so although a decision of enforcing net neutrality is an American one (in terms of what’s discussed in the article), it’s in large part a decision for the internet as a whole.
Should Google successfully launch an alternative network, it is is theoretically possible for them to block out competitor websites and only allow users to access websites that have paid Google to be shown to their users.—Rumours mount over Google’s internet plan
[Update] Ok. Not sure if I was super slow on this one or if the issue is just dispersed and badly explained by I finally got a new understanding reading this article, right at beginning.
A Verizon Communications Inc. executive yesterday accused Google Inc. of freeloading for gaining access to people’s homes using a network of lines and cables the phone company spent billions of dollars to build. (Emphasis mine)
I always thought “users pay for access, Google pays for access, how can they suddenly want to charge them more?”. Duhhhh. It’s the fact that one has access to the other they don’t like. i.e. Google/ Apple/ Others pay to get on the net but it becomes a distribution channel to end users, not just access to them or for themselves. I still don’t think it’s right but I get where the pipe companies are coming from a lot more than I used to. Actually, in my own comment (!!) I was getting there but got there only now. Again, duhhhh.
Eliminating network neutrality means giving one participant in the value chain a tool to extract a greater share of revenues without delivering greater value. The best effort Internet holds far more promise than the metering of scarcity associated with QoS because “best effort” continues to improve. (Emphasis mine)
[Update 3] Nice article and infographics of the importance of many-to-many linking.