Net neutrality is a concept where internet service providers have to treat all the data available on the internet the same way without any discrimination whether it is a user, website, content or an application. Under this specific principle, internet service providers cannot block, charge or slow down any website or hide any content from the users.
Open Internet, on the other hand, means that all the resources available on the internet should be easily accessible and downloadable for all the organizations, individuals, and companies. This concept of the open internet is also known as decentralized technological net as it is closely related to net neutrality with open standards and transparency. In an open internet scenario, there are only a few barriers to entry which means that new businesses can easily enter and establish themselves in the market. Moreover, there is no censor board which means that government has little or no involvement in the activities that are performed online.
There are many people in the world that support the idea of net neutrality and they see it as an important aspect of the internet. This is probably because an open internet has policies where data is to be treated equally and the users can communicate with each other more conveniently and conduct business activities as well as operations without any interference from the government or any other party.
On the contrary, a closed internet is the one where there are security checks everywhere and users are walled in a specific area where access to certain websites is restricted and only a few authorized personnel or companies like the government, persons, corporations and some other users can have access to the restricted content online. There are some countries that use proper law enforcement to block certain websites in order to prevent users from accessing them.
What Happens in Net Neutrality?
When the creator of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, invented Facebook, he did not have to ask Comcast to add his website to the other networks. Moreover, he did not even have to pay any extra fee to the companies to ensure that his website would flourish over the internet. This is network neutrality when you receive equal rights and there is no discrimination on the World Wide Web. It is believed that network neutrality is one the major reasons that people started innovation over the internet. It is also because of the low barriers to entry and freedom of innovating new ideas like Twitter, Skype, Snapchat, Netflix and much more.
People worry about the fact that if internet neutrality would not exist, the internet would lose its hospitality and there might be no more room for innovation as the existing market would not welcome new entrants. In addition to this, without net neutrality, large internet service providers might ask video streaming websites to pay for their videos in order to make their videos viral.
How Can Neutrality Discourage Innovation?
There are some people who argue that when you treat all the traffic on the internet the same way with equality, it discourages the people to innovate on the internet because there is no incentive for them to work hard and invest their time and effort in something where there is no benefit for them. For example; some companies develop applications that are sensitive to delays such as calling applications like Whatsapp. Users can benefit from such an application if they can pay for a premium service in order to enjoy an uninterruptable conversation.
Another major concern regarding neutrality is that regulations and laws can discourage people to invest in the infrastructure of the network as neutrality might make it less profitable for the investors. Companies like Google and Verizon are now capable of delivering internet speed of up to 1 GIG per second, which is huge. Both the companies have made investments and now own fiber optic networks which are faster than any other network available.
However, there are some regulatory bodies that have a firm belief that rules and regulations of network neutrality are completely unnecessary because internet service providers have a clear incentive of not breaking the internet connection as the internet becomes more valuable when people bring innovative ideas for online services.
Reclassification and Its Controversies
Reclassification is a legal technique that gives FCC the right to extend their authority in order to regulate the internet service. In the past, there has been a detailed debate about how to classify the internet services offered by different companies. In that particular debate, many open internet supporters argued that according to the law, broadband services should be treated as telecommunications services. However, in the year 2005, Supreme Court gave FCC the authority to classify broadband services as information services and FCC agreed to the statement and classified the internet service as information services. In 2014, the US Court of Appeals took the matter in and pointed out the fact that if the internet would be classified as information services, the legal body would not be able to impose concrete rules with strong network neutrality. Therefore, in the year 2015, FCC declared internet as a telecommunications services.
After the reclassification of internet service as telecommunications, the internet was to be treated as a public utility with proper rules and regulations. This draws a strong foundation for neutrality rules and regulations and the activities on the internet can be properly regulated with the enforcement of the law.
It is worth mentioning the fact that the internet has become a constant part of our lives and people have always considered it to be a free platform where they can find each and everything according to their interests. However, this might not be the case in future because last year on December 14th, the FCC conducted a vote to make net neutrality an idea of the past.
What is the Major Issue?
The problem arises when people do not receive the speed that is to be delivered by the service provider. When we share data over the internet, we expect the service providers to transfer that data and information from one end to the other, where it is supposed to reach. We do not expect the service providers to manipulate the data or the information that they are supposed to transfer to the other end. However, due to the FCC decision, this protection might not last for too long and people will have to compromise on the security aspect when using the internet. Therefore, we encourage users to avail an internet service that comes with a complete protection suite like the one offered in Spectrum Gold Package.
How Can Service Providers Manipulate Your Data?
Technological advancements allow companies to intercept your calls which means that every piece of information that you send or receive is being watched online. In addition to this, these companies also have programs that can route your data to other communicators and can easily manipulate the data that you send to another party. For example; if Pizza Hut is paying a service provider to mislead the calls of a user who places an order to Domino’s, you might experience frequent call drops when you try calling Domino’s to place an order for delivery. Furthermore, your financial data is also at a risk when such companies are interfering with your calls and messages.
Therefore, you need to be careful when you’re dealing with sensitive information over the internet.