Printing's complicated relationship with the Internet makes it easy to forget that as a medium, the Internet faces issues of its own. One of the thorniest has to do with the principle of network neutrality: the belief that Internet users, not Internet service providers, should be in control of content, access, and Internet activity in general.
Some advocacy groups believe that network neutrality is being threatened by proposed regulation that they say would give broadband carriers broad powers to "tier"the Internet into fast and slow services based on costs paid by end-users. These groups also fear network taxes that would put price tags on VOIP, IM, and other functions currently taken for granted as free services.
One of these groups, Hands Off the Internet, sums up its objections and apprehensions in this video:
Save the Internet is another supporter of unregulated network neutrality, and so is Google. Needless to say, the views of those in anti-regulation camp don't reflect the opinions of those who believe in changing telecommunications laws to make the Internet soon to be transformed by transmission via fiber optic cable more efficient.
Since, from now on, we will be doing very little printing that is not enabled by the Internet in some way, the network neutrality controversy is a development that we all should be paying close attention to. Those wishing to weigh in on either side of the debate are invited to post their comments here.