Today, everywhere on the internet and media you may hearing about Net Neutrality. This is an important topic to be discussed but still, only a few people are giving their attention on this. Many people are still not aware and they don’t know what does Net Neutrality mean and why should they care about it? So let’s talk about it.
Net Neutrality, is a paradigm in the network design which queries the broadband network providers to treat all the data equally. In essence, it argues that the internet service providers should not prioritize any data over another. Net neutrality, ensures that our ISPs don’t block, discriminate or override any data without our consent. This includes “bandwidth throttling” which means the information has been stifled by your ISP in order to exploit. Access free and open internet is the greatest technology of the current era and its management should not be at the mercy of multinational corporations.
Tiered Internet & Net Neutrality:
After the merger of two major telecom companies AT&T and SBC, theories of “tiering” the internet came into lime light. These companies proposed that, there should be a hierarchical order according to which the internet services would act upon. What “tiering”meant was that the sites who chose to pay a higher amount, would have access to faster and reliable services. It should be of no surprise that the general public devises most of the internet content. If tiered networks existed innovative start-ups will cease to exist. Google, yahoo, eBay and Craigslist are a few examples which would have relinquished, if there was tiered networks earlier. Bottom-line is, tiering of networks results in preeminent profit for the network providers at the cost of consumer.
Soon after tiered internet was relegated, other alternative methods to earn effortless money popped up. By tampering with the web traffic, the network providers could indirectly control the website people visited. For example, ISP can manipulate the traffic on the web to tamper with a server to bring it down and force the user to visit another site because the site is paying a huge sum to route to its website.
Route to Net Neutrality Finalization:
It was in October 2007, Barack Obama pledged to support for net neutrality. In May 2010, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) introduced, strong net neutrality protections which stated that the ISP can not block any sites or impose limits on any user. Just weeks after FCC passed such restriction, Verizon communications, a telecom company filed a federal lawsuit against FCC in Jan 2011. On Jan 14,2014 a federal appeals court struck down FCC’s 2010 rule.On the very next day a petition was created which went on to be signed by 105,572 users to “Restore Net Neutrality By Directing the FCC to Classify Internet Providers as ‘Common Carriers’. ” Over the next few months the continuous proposals of rule-making were reconsidered and in Nov 2014, President Obama directs FCC to articulate strongest possible laws to protect net neutrality.Finally on Feb 26,2015 FCC votes in favor of the cause.
Pros of Net neutrality:
1. No Restrictions: Currently there are no restrictions on the websites that a user can access , unless the local government has specified any restrictions.
2. No Throttling : Internet service providers can not manipulate the download or upload speeds depending upon the contents accessed.
3. No Censorship : Besides the connection premium, there is no constraint on how much one can download or upload.
4. Lower cost of Internet: Without the tiering networks there is no extra mount one has to pay.
5. An open access promotes innovation,drives entrepreneurship,stimulates ISP competition which leads to better service and customer care.
Cons of Net Neutrality :
1. Higher expenditure for ISP: The newest technologies require huge investments & huge investments are subject to market risks, which makes the ISP reluctant.
2. Ease of access to certain sites : Due to net neutrality any individual can access to pornographic sites, drugs, hitmen, hackers. Net neutrality leads to a higher potential for children to be exposed to adult contents.
3. No Competition : Due to neutrality,
People in general are scared of government’s supervision in any aspect & net neutrality legislation is just the same.Without the government’s intervention, in the presence of the telecom oligopolies, the general public would suffer to a great extent.Without neutrality, the consumers will be compelled to pay multiple times for the same assistance & it ensures that the people are not conned. Even though the rules made by FCC may be changed or revoked by the court in upcoming future, one should understand the real significance of open internet keeping in mind that, Net Neutrality strongly favors the people while the alternatives favors the corporations!