For the past year or so, net neutrality has become quite a talking point. The concept that all content and applications on the internet should be accessible and not blocked in anyway, whilst providing equality with internet speed, is something that many people believe should happen. However, there has been growing concern with regards to net neutrality, where it can be understood that some internet providers favorite certain content and websites, potentially due to contractual financial agreements. With this, here is everything you need to know about net neutrality in bullet points.
- Net neutrality is all about making sure every website has equal rights to the same access and internet speed to web users.
- On 22nd November 2017, the FCC stated that they would put an end to net neutrality, meaning that companies can begin to charge more for some websites, whilst slowing or blocking access to others.
- Although not confirmed, an example of what this means is that an internet service provider may charge a standard rate for certain websites, an additional cost to access other websites, similar to what cable TV is like for accessing different TV channels.
Analysis: Goodbye Free Internet
The argument for net neutrality is a very interesting one, since there are both positives to each argument.
The obvious argument for net neutrality is that the user experience online should not be deliberately blocked or slowed down, due to company ties (such as a broadband company promising to stream Netflix twice as quick as Amazon Video) or simply due to what they believe is best for the web user. Just like George Orwell’s book, 1984, more and more of the free things in life are becoming restricted – for many, this is the principle against the freedom of speech, or the freedom to browse what you like fairly and unrestricted of bandwidth caps.
On the other hand, with net neutrality scrapped, internet providers can better control their networks, which could potentially improve the web user’s experience if they put more resources into areas of the internet that gain more traffic. Contracts to provide better bandwidth for certain websites could also help to fund better internet on the whole, as well as make it more accessible in hard to reach areas.
Ultimately, it is a very tricky situation. But, it has to be said that it cannot be right to purposely restrict the internet to a device simply because of the website they are on. In doing so, internet providers hope the web user will push towards the websites with high bandwidth, which will make such websites and cooperations more money.
As it stands, it looks like net neutrality is a thing of the past. Hopefully, the extent of net neutrality will not be exploited and only used in minor circumstances (such as free data for YouTube/Netflix/Spotify on selected smartphone data plans etc.).