Why Should You Care About Net Neutrality?
By Johan Curtis 6 minutes
Old is gold. But that does not always hold true and cannot always be applied to all situations. Imagine having a movie night and having your movie options controlled by your Internet Service Provider. This takes us from 21st century right back to the 80’s, where cable providers chose the content for their viewers. Doesn’t sound much like gold does it? This is where net neutrality jumps in.
What is Net Neutrality?
From cable to internet, we bring our discussion at hand forward which is about net neutrality. Before we proceed, let’s understand the concept of net neutrality. Initially, internet service providers would slow down uploading from P2P sharing applications. Net neutrality is a principal, coined by Tim Wu, which claims that all data on the internet must be treated equally by all internet service providers (ISPs). This means that internet data must be free of discrimination of any sort. User, content, platform, application, website, attached equipment in an email or method of communication should not be charged differently on the basis of their type or characteristic. In layman’s term, all internet activity should be free-flowing and not controlled by ISPs – meaning ISPs cannot favor their own services over others.
Why Should You Care About Net Neutrality?
The indispensable need of having net neutrality can be explained with a simple example. It’s Friday night and you want to enjoy your butter popcorn with Netflix. Who doesn’t? Now the internet provider you have happens to be producing its own shows that the company wants people to prefer over Netflix series. In this case, WITHOUT net neutrality, they could decide to give preference to their production by giving Netflix only quarter of the speed. That ditches your idea of a comfortable Friday night into one full of frustration with slow buffering on the screen in front.
Statistically, the majority is convinced in favor of net neutrality (really don’t know those who aren’t). This is because it definitely comes with a lot of advantages to the users of the internet.
Pros of Net Neutrality:
- It promotes equal grounds for competing companies
- In essence, the role of an ISP is to rightfully transport data to customers who have paid for the service. They can also have the power to shape consumption patterns. However, fortunately, with net neutrality, they don’t. Anti-discrimination rules stop ISPs to make biased decisions about limiting or promoting the content of their choosing.
- Network neutrality also prevents the capacity that an ISP may have to charge for online services such as Netflix, Kodi, YouTube, Xbox Live, Skype, PlayStation and more for fast lanes. This additional cost would make subscriptions to these services more expensive.
- Chances of small companies competing with big companies diminish without net neutrality, as ISPs would give preference to big companies who have the equity to make agreements with them. With net neutrality, all businesses have an equal chance of promoting their content.
- Net Neutrality ensures that all users have access to similar information without discrimination based on socio-economic status (income, occupation, and education).
- ISPs cannot create hindrances by prioritizing access to chosen sites over others.
- Net neutrality makes internet useful and accessible to all, just not the rich.
Cons of Net Neutrality:
In a balanced world; where there are pros, there are cons.
- Net neutrality limits new business ideas
- Heavier internet users could be charged more without net neutrality. With that money bandwidth for all other users could be incremented by ISPs. That sounds appealing, however, it is too good to be true.
- Net neutrality makes it difficult to monitor controversial content.
- People who don’t have contractual cellular data can get access to the free internet for selected content by a few telecom operators, had net neutrality not existed. Though it would have reduced other users’ data consumption.
FCC on Net Neutrality
When the audience is well-aware of net neutrality benefits, they want to make sure that they have it. On the contrary, the Federal Communications Commission has put forward a plan to end net neutrality. Millions of internet users in North America have expressed their disapproval. Blocking open internet and giving more control to internet providers has major consequences, most of which already discussed. Internet companies will now be able to charge more for some content while restricting others. Internet access would be divided into fast and low lanes, depending on who makes special payments. Those who don’t have the budgets, get a bumpy service. Many Americans believe that they should rebel against this and should stop this from becoming “law of the land”. Americans believe that the filed comments with FCC are not authentic which has angered the public to an even greater extent. Supporters of ending net neutrality believe that giving internet providers more control will spur investments, however, this has the general public questioning who the agency works for and what the real motive is.
What is the Stable Solution?
While people express their displeasure of wiping rules of net neutrality, there is a solution to this problem which will become an issue for the masses. Using VPN can terminate your worries and bring back equality. Connect to the VPN and visit websites of your choice. VPN lets you connect to the internet with any country’s IP address and encrypts all your internet traffic. Not only you have open internet and free-flowing access to favorable content, but your internet activity is also hidden with military-level security – killing two birds with one stone!
All for Net Neutrality, But Until Then
Net Neutrality affects the multitudes and it is a cause that millions are willing to stand up for. Of course, no one likes to pay extra for a subscription of channel or access to content that they could have gotten for cheaper in a different country or on a different device.
People have their fingers crossed to have federal legislation to rule in their favor and supersede any FCC rules. But until that happens, no need to waste time waiting for miracles to happen – get VPN and be worry free; with or without net neutrality!