Net Neutrality: It's more than streaming video

Ian Lurie

This is a broader, hand-waving bit about Net Neutrality. If you want to see how it might affect small businesses, and what you can do to mitigate the problem, read Josh Patrice’s post.

The debate about Net Neutrality isn’t as clear-cut as some would have you think.

Here’s how Tim Wu defined it back in 2003:

Net Neutrality is the concept that all data on the Internet should be treated equally.

99% of the Internet-using public assume this is all about download speed — slower video streaming, gets the headlines. But there’s more to it than Dr. Who reruns (and I love Dr. Who):

  • Data transmission speeds (yes, it’s an issue)
  • Censorship
  • Corporate profit (which, lest we forget, isn’t always a bad thing)
  • A wider (or narrower) digital divide

So it isn’t necessarily an easy decision. Maybe you favor corporations and want them to make more money. Great. But how do you feel about censorship? Maybe you favor Net Neutrality. Nice. But what’s your opinion on narrowing the digital divide?

Picking your side isn’t about stepping to one side or another. It’s dancing on a high wire. Understand the subtleties before you jump in. I put together this presentation to (hopefully) help:

I’d prefer everyone take my viewpoint (Net Neutrality = good). But I’d be almost as happy if everyone made a truly informed decision.

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Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (that's more than 25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team, training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at

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