After our lecture today, I did some reading about “Net neutrality”.
Before I start talking about recent news and giving more detailed information about “Net neutrality”, I should explain and define what it is and why we all should care and know about it.
What is Net neutrality?
To quote ocf.berkeley.edu, “Net neutrality […] is a network design paradigm that argues for broadband network providers to be completely detached from what information is sent over their networks. In essence, it argues that no bit of information should be prioritized over another.” So, what does that mean? Basically, that the internet is “most efficient and useful to the public when it is less focused on a particular audience and instead attentive to multiple users.”
For example: “Let’s say you use Hulu and Netflix, and often switch between the two to see what’s on. Supporters of net neutrality say that your broadband Internet service provider (ISP) should not be able to charge either Netflix or Hulu, or any other company that depends on the Internet, for a faster connection to you and other customers. Nor should the ISP be able to charge you more to access certain services.” (Trotter, J., K.) Meaning that network providers could choose to decide how fast data would be transmitted and at what quality. As a result it could come to unfair treatment and even discrimination as well as high prizes and a position of power for the providers. Because in that case some information would be accessed much slower than other, users would desire the information they have a fast access to and in the end, this way network providers could have a hand in creating monopoles or oligopolies.
Some quotes I found doing my research were by Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google and Tim Wu, a Professor at Columbia Law School:
A neutral network might be designed without legal prodding – as in the original internet. In an ideal world, either competition or enlightened self-interest might drive carriers to design neutral networks.
– Tim Wu (Professor at Columbia Law School)
Creativity, innovation and a free and open marketplace are all at stake in this fight”
– Eric Schmidt (Google CEO)
Lin, R., unknown. Network Neutrality. Available from: https://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~raylin/whatisnetneutrality.htm [Accessed on: 25th March 2014].
Trotter, J., K., 2014. What is Net Neutrality and why should I care? The Non-Geek’s Guide. Available from: http://gawker.com/what-is-net-neturality-and-why-should-i-care-the-non-g-1657354551 [Accessed on: 25th March 2014].
The Guardian, 2015. Net neutrality. Available from: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/net-neutrality [Accessed on: 25th March 2014].
Baker, J., 2015. EU annoys industry and activists with net neutrality proposal. Available from: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/03/05/net_neutrality_eu_ministers_proposals_treated_with_suspicion/ [Accessed on: 25th March 2014].