By Emily Merrell | USA
Net Neutrality is currently one of the most talked about topics on the internet, it affects both internet users and ISPs. Many people are pro-Net Neutrality due to the internet’s largest websites’ and people’s influential opinions, but these opinions are lacking.
Net Neutrality is not a policy or legislation, it is a set of regulations granted by the FCC by Obama’s administration allowing communication legislation to regulate the internet for the public interest. These regulations prohibit Internet Service Providers from being able to change network speeds. These regulations empower the bigger ISP companies for profit while giving smaller ISPs no ability to compete.
The first major issue with Net Neutrality is the fact that it gives the FCC power. The FCC is a communication department, originally created to help the government for unhindered signals and radio piracy. This was used in the 30’s when rogue broadcasters created signals to disrupt bigger stations. It was also used in the era of analog TV’s to keep the peace for TV channels. The internet is way bigger than these things as it has no limit and constant growth. FCC control of the internet is out of date.
The most common fears of Net Neutrality stem from the idea that corporations will throttle speed, provide fast lanes for specific sites, and the placement of limits for specific sites. However, what people do not understand about this is the fact that this might be beneficial and the extent to how this would be implemented. The companies that control our internet speed understand the unpopularity of modifying internet speeds for specific sites and will most likely do this in small amounts if any at all. Second of all, these companies will have specific websites with the desire for higher speeds, even at very limited differences. Speed differences can even help websites that are packed with visitors by preventing them from crashing. However, it will be very expensive to make changes to internet speeds making it unrealistic that any major changes will be occurring. These ideas are all hypothetical, though.
Since the free market has been prohibited from experimenting with internet speed, pricing, and making certain deals with websites, it is unknown how many of these changes will affect us and the internet we know today. What we do know is that the free market will not try to overpower us. ISPs will cater to consumers and see how the people react to any changes. If your internet service provider makes any changes that you don’t like, then there is definitely another one that doesn’t make these changes that you can switch over to.
We may even have a reason to be excited about these regulations being repealed. Netflix draws millions of users daily. Netflix may make a deal with Comcast to increase their internet speed. Consumers that use Netflix frequently may want to switch over to Comcast. Comcast will be receiving payment from Netflix, causing Comcast to be less dependent on billing their consumers. Netflix will likely need less research and development for higher internet speeds if Comcast is helping them produce faster speeds. This will be the same for other websites.
The market is the most beneficial place for consumers. Supply and demand rarely fail and companies will see how their customers react to changes. The defense of Net Neutrality has good intent: keeping the internet “neutral” for internet speed. However, they do not realize the danger of having government control over the internet. The more regulations over certain things, the more we are being controlled by the government. Experimenting with internet speeds may be beneficial to us as we want to visit our most frequently used websites faster. Businesses will directly receive feedback from customers, data is gathered from advertisement, and connections are created from choices and knowledge of information. All in all, we must realize that Net Neutrality restricts freedom on the internet, is protectionist, and is very costly. Net Neutrality is certainly not neutral in any shape or form.