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What would a multitiered internet system mean to you?

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This story appears in the May 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Currently, all internet traffic is treated in the same way, whether it's a web page from Google or a page from a small bakery in Wisconsin. It's the concept of net neutrality in action. No bits of data have priority. But some changes that have occurred over the past year may make net neutrality a thing of the past. Cable and DSL broadband network providers are considering creating a multitiered internet. For example, a company could pay a broadband provider to have its offerings load faster than others. Some broadband providers see a multitiered internet as a way to help cover their investment in high-speed broadband infrastructure.

This is something that entrepreneurs should keep an eye on. It especially concerns businesses that work with bandwidth-intensive multimedia or streaming video services over the web.

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