Net firms say 'net neutrality' could harm HIEs

As most FierceHealthIT readers know, a battle has been raging for years over whether Congress should make a law guaranteeing "net neutrality," equal transport over the Internet regardless of what content was being transported. Broadband providers say they need to establish different classes of service to pay for their network infrastructure, while content providers argue that without net neutrality, the Net would go from egalitarian publishing to a set of digital "haves" and "have nots."

So why does this matter to you?  Because the leaders of the U.S. Internet Industry Association (USIIA) have begun selling the idea that health information exchanges could face a dire fate if net neutrality passes.  They're arguing that HIEs won't work if net neutrality becomes law. (Apparently their existing pitch--that they'd be killed by a combination of high-volume multimedia publishers and tiny blogger sites--wasn't getting them enough traction.) Specifically, they're contending they'll have to give ehealth and telemedicine applications priority status over broadband networks if HIE is to function properly.

USIIA isn't just asking for a net neutrality ban, however. Leaders say they won't be happy if net neutrality passes even with a carve-out exception for HIE. So there's no mistaking where they really stand.

To learn about the broadband providers' arguments:
- read this PC World article