We Might Need Google Neutrality, Too

Net Neutrality isn't a cure-all; the internet is full of choke points
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 29, 2009 12:04 PM CDT
A worker at Google Inc.'s new campus in Kirkland, Wash. walks past a company sign built entirely out of Lego bricks and featuring the Space Needle, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

(Newser) – Net neutrality is back in the headlines, but it might not be as important as its champions might hope. Essentially, the net neutrality fight is over price discrimination—the ISPs want to charge extra fees to big companies that could afford to pay them, explains Ars Technica. Companies of all sorts practice price discrimination, and it works out well—unless the public finds out and gets offended.

ISPs in this case have offended the public’s sense of fairness. But ISPs are only the most obvious Internet choke point. Once net neutrality becomes law, a dominant search company like Google could become a chokepoint instead, notes a new paper from the Review of Network Economics. If Google decides to price discriminate, the public would be in essentially the same boat. Net neutrality is fine, but be prepared for search neutrality, too.