What Is Net Neutrality? Why Is It So important?
The Internet is one of the best inventions in history. Since its presence, many possibilities have been unlocked.
The success and growth of the Internet could be due to one program that paved the way for more improvement on the Internet – net neutrality, which has the overall goal of equally treating all the traffic coming in from the Internet. This means that on the Internet, every entrepreneur shares equal opportunity.
Today, everywhere on the internet and media you may hear about net neutrality. This is an important topic to be discussed but still, only a few people are giving their attention to this. Many people are still not aware and they don’t know what does Net Neutrality means and why should they care about it? So let’s talk about it.
A Brief Background On Net Neutrality
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 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 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 the limelight. 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 that would have relinquished, if there were tiered networks earlier. Bottom-line is, tiering of networks results in preeminent profit for the network providers at the cost of the 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 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 the strongest possible laws to protect net neutrality. Finally on Feb 26, 2015, FCC votes in favor of the cause.
Is Net Neutrality Good Or Bad?
In trying to answer the question of whether or not net neutrality is good or bad, there are two ways to view it. First, from the perspective of the general public or the consumers. In this point of view, net neutrality guarantees that all of the connections on the Internet are equal. Hence, Internet Service Providers (ISP) have no power to censor or filter through the Internet.
From the perspective of the ISPs, it means that they’ve got to exercise caution since they’re now heavily guarded by the government. This can even possibly hamper their ability to gain a little extra income.
Pros Of Net Neutrality
There are advantages to net neutrality, and these include:
- No Restrictions
Currently, there are no restrictions on the websites that a user can access unless the local government has specified any restrictions. This makes information more widely available; whatever it is that you’re searching for on the Internet is now possible.
- No Throttling
Internet service providers can not manipulate the download or upload speeds depending upon the contents accessed.
- No Censorship
Besides the connection premium, there is no constraint on how much one can download or upload.
- Lower Cost Of Internet
Without the tiering networks, there is no extra amount one has to pay.
Open access promotes innovation, drives entrepreneurship, stimulates ISP competition which leads to better service and customer care. This also prohibits the existence of power, control, and monopoly.
Cons Of Net Neutrality
- Higher expenditure for ISP
The newest technologies require huge investments & huge investments are subject to market risks, which makes the ISP reluctant.
- 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 content.
- No Competition
Due to neutrality, there’s no competition for opportunity and space on the Internet.
People, in general, are scared of the government’s supervision in any aspect & net neutrality legislation is just the same. Net neutrality, also known as Open Internet, creates a sense of equality among all Internet connections; there’s no discrimination in this public space. Without the government’s intervention, in the presence of the telecom oligopolies, the general public would suffer to a great extent. The absence of neutrality would make the consumers 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 the upcoming future, one should understand the real significance of the open internet. Keep in mind that Net Neutrality strongly favors the people, while the alternatives favor the corporations. It’s a safeguard for all Internet users, from the high school student still starting with blogging to the professional entrepreneur making it big with their online site.