Net neutrality, also known as Internet neutrality and Network Neutrality, is the belief that all governments and Internet service providers (ISP’s) should treat all persons and entities equally on the Internet. To put it simply, Net Neutrality allows for an “open Internet.” This principal and commonly shared belief among Internet users world-wide concludes that ISP’s and governments should not discriminate against websites, blog sites, users, applications, content, different modes of communication, platforms, and more.
Individuals should have the right to access any web content that they choose to, without data access control. Many believe that this is unfair to the user and it is unfair to the competitors of those in control. This issue has been greatly debated for quite some time, stemming back to the early 2000’s.
Advocates of Net Neutrality have always argued that rules regarding the Internet and data access allow broadband providers to intentionally block content and Internet applications from competitors or anyone, really. Those in favor of Net Neutrality believe that blocking competition is a sacrifice to freedom, specifically Internet Freedom.
What are the Net Neutrality rules?
Net Neutrality rules enable an open Internet, ensuring that no one is able to restrict data access to consumers on the Internet. The three basic rules to Net Neutrality include: Transparency, No Blocking, and No Unreasonable Discrimination. According to the FCC regarding Open Internet rules, if you feel that there has been a violation to the Open Internet rules, you can easily file a complaint with the FCC.
Net Neutrality was officially established in 2011, but recently, following a lawsuit by Verizon, it was decided by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to strike down these rules. What does this mean? Now, Internet providers are free to charge content companies more money to deliver their content faster. The FCC may appeal this decision.
What are some legitimate reasons for an ISP to block content?
Blocking spam emails and viruses are two legitimate and important reasons for an ISP to implement the blocking of anything. But that’s about it. Those who oppose Net Neutrality argue that they should be allowed to block anything that they feel directly interferes with their businesses “quality of service.”
The blocking of anything beyond spam emails and virus’s, would mean the discrimination against competitor services, limiting content to consumers, the favoring of those who can “pay up,” and restrictions to the increasingly popular Internet telephone usage.
What does Net Neutrality mean for the consumer?
With the loss of Net Neutrality, the consumer can expect to pay more for Internet service. According to a graphic created by a Reddit user by the name of quink, you can see what happens to the consumer with the loss of Net Neutrality. With the loss of Net Neutrality, you can more than likely expect to see Internet packages that resemble cable packages with a basic package, and additional add-on packages for a higher fee.
How does Net Neutrality impact business?
The biggest downside of all for the loss of Net Neutrality is that the little guy is going to suffer. The little guy that solely relies on web traffic for business may still receive web traffic, but the traffic to their site will arrive at a slower rate, which may deter traffic all together. This could be critical to business.
According to Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.), an advocate to Net Neutrality, to get rid of Net Neutrality would be bad for the economy and the consumer and is compared to the loss of Freedom of Speech. Senator Al Franken also says that it’s a risk to the Internet and that the Internet should remain open for all – not just the big corporations.
Whether your business suffers or not will depend upon how dependent your business is on an Open Internet. One solution to this problem is to increase social media presence and marketing. Another solution is to encourage the FCC to fight this decision.