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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Coming soon: The Web toll | Net Neutrality: Part IX


By Tim Folger
Popular Science

"What if the Internet were like cable television, with Web sites grouped like channels into either basic or premium offerings? What if a few big companies decided which sites loaded quickly and which ones slowly, or not at all, on your computer?

Welcome to the brave new Web, brought to you by Verizon, Bell South, AT&T and the other telecommunications giants (including PopSci and CNN.com's parent company, Time Warner) that are now lobbying Congress to block laws that would prevent a two-tiered Internet, with a fast lane for Web sites able to afford it and a slow lane for everyone else.

Google and Amazon and Yahoo are not going to slice those payments out of their profit margins and eat them," says Ben Scott, policy director for Free Press, a nonprofit group that monitors media-related legislation. "They're going to pass them on to the consumer. So I'll end up paying twice. I'm going to pay my $29.99 a month for access, and then I'm going to pay higher prices for consumer goods all across the economy because these Internet companies will charge more for online advertising."

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