According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), net neutrality advocates a level playing field for all, with no form of content afforded preference over any other. This concept has come under threat recently from supposed plans by Google and Verizon, one of the USA’s leading Internet Service Providers.
The partnership between the search engine giant and telecoms operator Verizon are though to be concerned with the formation of a tiered payment system, in which content creators would pay Verizon to ensure that their site gained prominence over others.
The involvement of Google in the discussion of a fee-paying service will have come as a surprise to many, following their appeal to protect the “openness of the internet”, and the ability of users to have their content made available to the world without having to pay for the privilege.
Such favouritism would go against the tenets of net neutrality, and has evoked a counter response from the FCC, whose chairman Julius Genachowski deemed such payment-for-preference arrangements as “unacceptable”.
SEO experts QueryClick.com believe that if an agreement between Google and Verizon results in any system which involves a site paying for privileged online presence, the ordinary internet user would eventually encounter rising broadband costs in order for sites to recoup their expenses.
When assessing this situation though, it is necessary to investigate the concept of net neutrality itself, and whether it even exists in reality.