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Governments love to pander equality and anti-discrimination laws (well, granted - they were for discrimination before they were against it). Their latest villain? The Internet Service Providers (ISP). Why should you care about the net neutrality debate? The basic debate comes down to this: should government be allowed to regulate the Internet or not and, if so, how much power should they have? What are the benefits and limitations of each position? How do property rights play into the debate (especially considering that ISPs are already regulated)? Do you have a "right" to access the Internet at a particular speed for a particular price?


Flat-rate versus tiered-pricing structures, data equality versus prioritized content-the arguments rage on in the U.S. with no end in sight, even as other high-tech countries, South Korea in particular, claim to successfully moved beyond the issue.

South Korea, regarded as the world's leading country in terms of making high-speed broadband Internet access available to its 50 million citizens, offers basic and premium network access to broadband subscribers, Tae-Yol Yoo, executive vice president of Korea Telecom (KT), said October 15 during a telecommunications forum The State of Telecom-2010 at Columbia University in New York City. "If somebody wants to load some premium content (such as a video), they can do it on the premium network," he said. "Of course, they pay for it."

Net neutrality (flat-rate pricing and equal priority status given to all data) was not a successful business model for KT, Yoo said. KT tried usage-based pricing, where subscribers paid for the amount of bandwidth they consumed, but abandoned that effort two years ago, in part because 5 percent of Internet users in that country were hogging 50 percent of all Internet bandwidth. These super users were slowing down traffic for everyone else, making other customers less likely to use (and pay for) Internet access.

Instead KT separated its Internet backbone into a premium service that functions like a fast-paced superhighway for video, multimedia and other heavy traffic, and a basic service for most normal users. As the name would imply, premium customers pay more for use of the service. In return, KT assures them that it will provide data transfers at a particular speed.

The cost of KT's premium service? Roughly $28 per month. Yoo said his company must keep prices low due to competition from the country's two other major telecommunications companies.

Not Neutrality? U.S. Weighs Options for Turbo-Boosting Nation's Broadband into the 21st Century


Original posting by Braincrave Second Life staff on Oct 29, 2010 at http://www.braincrave.com/viewblog.php?id=365

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