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Net Neutrality: Why the Internet Can't Remain Free

Most users want a free Internet, but that's not going to be possible by 2010, Gary Beach argues. Without a major investment by those who own the pipes, the likes of Verizon, AT&T and Comcast, Internet traffic will come to resemble rush hour traffic in Los Angeles.

A proposed Congressional bill, the Communications Opportunity Promotion Enhancement Act, or COPE, says all users should have equal Internet access, whether for video, e-mail or any other activity they desire.

However, not all bandwidth use is equal. Here, CIO's Gary Beach proposes a reasonable compromise between Internet pipe owners like Verizon, AT&T and AOL, and pipe users (and arguably bandwidth hogs) Google, YouTube and Yahoo.

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How do you feel about "use more, pay more?" Is there another viable alternative? Beach argues that Eric Schmidt (CEO of Google) and Randall Stephenson (AT&T's chief executive) get together and work out a plan amenable to both sides in the debate. Sound off below and share your thoughts.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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