There's a lot of buzz on the Internet about Net Neutrality these days. I've written a background post on the subject on my blog which I recommend reading for a full understanding, but the bare bones of it are:
ISPs in America want the right to control the speed at which traffic passes on their networks based on who that traffic belongs to
In essence, this means that ISP can enable their own content, or their partner's content, to be delivered faster than competing company's content
Many people feel this removes choice as Internet users will be more likely to use the faster services than the slower ones
Other people feel that the ISPs built all the pipes and cables and satellites that form the Internet and they should be allowed to recoup that money somehow.
So what does this mean for podcasting? Well, it potentially means that us independent podcasters are going to be left out in the cold. Since I'm not an AOL or a CBC, I don't have enough clout or money to get my podcast delivered through the network as fast as a they do. Therefore, listeners are more likely to go with a 'fast' show than my show regardless of content.
I know that podcasting is a global proposition, but much of the Internet passes through the US on it journey. If the ISPs get their way, then even if I'm in Canada and you're pulling in my show from Poland, it will probably go through the US at some point and then be subject to the speed limits imposed by whatever ISP owns that bit of the pipe. Well, considering my server is in the US, there's no doubt.
Needless to say, I'm greatly in favour of Net Neturality and hope that the ISPs lose their bid.