One of the more interesting aspects of the debate over net neutrality is that search giant Google is no longer a vocal supporter of the policy, even though the phone and cable industry are turning the net neutrality debate against Google.

Net neutrality is the principle that data on the internet must be given equal treatment by network providers. Under the principle, Comcast, Verizon, or AT&T could not treat some websites worse than others, or charge big web companies to be in Internet fast lanes unavailable to smaller companies (like Salon or your friend’s blog). This idea of neutrality is a basic principle of anti-monopoly regulation that goes as far back as Roman law. Sometimes called “common carrier” law, it was used to regulate railroads, phone companies, toll roads, and even taverns.

The reason for network neutrality is simple: Comcast and Verizon could create an unequal web, silencing some and imposing anti-competitive charges. We already see behavior like this, with Netflix required to pay extra to Comcast to reach its customers, even though Comcast’s own online video offerings don’t pay a toll. Years ago, AT&T CEO Ed Whitacre asked of Google and Yahoo: “How do you think they’re going to get to customers? Through a broadband pipe. Cable companies have them. We have them. Now what they would like to do is use my pipes free, but I ain’t going to let them do that.” [Read more] – Michael’s Blog