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Aug, 2010

Small website owners could find themselves in a sleepy online backwater as the big boys pay for the privilege of a faster service, the Sunday Business Post says.

A deal between telcom giant Verizon and Google could signal the end of so-called ‘net neutrality’ whereby everyone’s site is treated similarly when it comes to internet streams. In the brave new, two-tier world, some would be more equal – and certainly faster – than others.

As telecoms struggle with declining revenues, the temptation would surely be to charge websites to prioritise their customers’ speed of access. Google has denied such moves are afoot but owners of some Irish sites have already weighed in to express their concerns.

The tenor of the article suggests they are right to be concerned, with no shortage of quotes from the telecoms industry spokesmen suggesting the days of net neutrality are numbered.

“The amount of content on the web is growing exponentially,” said IBEC’s Tommy McCabe. “When current networks were built, they were designed to accommodate a much lower utilisation of data. So you have to have fibre. But we estimate it would cost €2.6 billion in extra investment to put down that fibre. To get a return on investment in that it would cost 12 years just to cover your costs.

“Firms that are driving the extra content should, therefore, contribute to the cost of these essential upgrades.”

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