What Does Net Neutrality Mean?
Net neutrality or network neutrality is the concept and idea that ISPs (Internet Service Providers), including all the cable companies, should provide internet equally to all the traffic. It says that any ISP should not be authorized to degrade or block access to specific services and websites.
It is the fundamental principle; every ISP must abide it. They are required to treat all internet data uniformly. They cannot decide to charge something extra for things like:
- Attached Documents
- Web Content
History Of Net Neutrality
Tim Wu originated the term net neutrality in 2002. He is law professor now at Columbia University. He explained the concept in 2003. We argued for an impartial rule that would make sure a fair chance among internet applications.
Since after that paper, everyone is debating on internet regulations. Congress, FCC (Federal Communications Commission, and courts have all discussed whether and how to safeguard network neutrality.
Network neutrality allows you to enter in the online world, and it open ways for entrepreneurs to create companies like Uber, Dropbox, and Facebook.
Net Neutrality In The US
Net neutrality USA is now gone officially. No one thought that we would end up in this situation even though millions of US citizens signed petitions and made it clear and loud to FCC that US net neutrality should be preserved, but they did not listen.
FCC voted for Ajit Pai’s proposal (FCC chairman). Undone the complete strive that was indispensable to get the FCC to embrace net neutrality in the first place.
So where things would go from this stage? The good news for US netizens is that things will not change immediately. People from different walks of life that are in favor of net neutrality will undoubtedly sue the FCC to nullify their decision.
Seemingly, while FCC can change their decision, it is not allowable to amend the rule for a capricious and arbitrary reason. Principally, they have to show and prove that internet had changed since 2015 when rules and regulations were put in place first.
After all this effort, what if net neutrality somehow ends? Then internet service providers such as Verizon and Comcast will be free to block any website or content, slow down the live streaming or video services of rivals, and provide fast lanes to their preferred associates.
You can get the clear glimpse of what may change by looking at broadband providers are currently doing under the net neutrality rules.
So, whenever any AT&T customer uses DirecTV Now service of video-streaming, it does not count against their data plans. Likewise, Verizon spares its service of Go90 from its data plans for customers. T-Mobile gives several services of music and video streaming to bypass the data limits, basically allowing it to choose winners and loser among those categories.
So it was just a glimpse of what broadband companies are doing under the existing rules of net neutrality. Imagining what will actually happen if it ends?
Impact On Rest Of The World
It will make a massive effect on rest of the world. After the FCC decision, it seems that the US has to surrender its role as the defender of a free and open internet.
The US is on the way to set a lousy instance for other countries. The decision comes from the nation that invented the internet.
We can take China’s example here; open internet notion has been efficiently killed by the vast censorship apparatus.
China’s has been there, and done that! They made their decision years ago. Their rules are entirely against net neutrality. US’s decision would boost China to continue with their restrictions. The US has no moral authority left to talk about China’s free and open internet.
Most of the countries, especially the developed nations will take net neutrality for granted now. People around the world will have lesser choices for accessing the content, and perhaps governments may start favoring large corporations.
On the other hand, the Indian government is not going towards content discrimination. Neighboring country Canada and some certain European countries offer reliable role models for network neutrality. Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau also spoke about his concern about neighbors plans to repeal net neutrality.
In 2015, European Union came up with rules to make sure that governments treat everyone equally concerning providing internet services and there should not be any fast or slow lanes for specific online content.
In the end, we must say that if the US would not stand up for an open internet, then it is predominant and necessary that other countries stand up for it.