German leader Angela Merkel made comments earlier in the week on the topic of net neutrality, an important issue being discussed by a number of European governments, not to mention the U.S. Unfortunately for those in support of an internet with speeds unregulated by telecommunications companies, Chancellor Merkel doesn’t feel the same, arguing instead for the controversial “two-lane” setup that has many users concerned.
Merkel’s position is in favor of a two-tier internet, where the “fast lane” will be for priority speeds, as long as ISPs have been paid their additional fees, while the other lane is supposed to act as the internet we know today. She feels that the future development of new uses for the internet is actually dependent on a two-tier format, as opposed to net neutrality proponents who feel a single, equal net is needed for growth.
As an example of her argument, the German leader says that new advancements like driverless vehicles or telemedicine wouldn’t be able to function properly without priority treatment, regardless if ISPs need to charge more for their higher speeds. While she raises a valid point, Merkel makes no mention of how or who would regulate the two-lane system, nor what kind of limits there would be about what kinds of companies or services can pay to use the fast lane.
As pointed out by Boing Boing, Merkel’s political party, the CDU (Christian Democratic Union), has close ties to the ISP industry and often favors their lobbyists. Merkel apparently believes she has taken a middle ground position, but Berlin Professor Leonhard Dobusch says that her ideas poke holes in the idea net neutrality, and would result in an end to the internet’s democracy.