Net Neutrality: Pros and Cons

Net Neutrality is a principle that all data on the Internet should be treated the same.

The number of Internet users is steadily growing in the world. It is estimated that more than 3 billion people around the world use the internet. This number is expected to grow steadily, if not exponentially over the next few years, especially as untapped markets are accessed. This can result into a gold mine for the Internet service providers, which leads some of them to utilize unethical practices to make money. Due to this, there are increased talks of net neutrality today.

Net neutrality is a principle that states that all data on the Internet should be treated the same, which leads one to ask the question, isn’t it? After all, data is stored as bytes, kilobytes (KB), megabytes (MB), and terabytes (TB). So, generally 1 byte would be equal to 1 byte, wouldn’t it? While technically it should, in reality it is not, especially by Internet service providers and governments.

Ever notice that the speed of the internet decreases when you are trying to download a file, even though net surfing works fine? This is due to lack of net neutrality. Many people don’t realize that internet providers have the right to and they do block certain sites from loading or slow down some sites. This means that companies and websites can pay the internet providers to load their websites faster, and block or slow down the sites of their competitors. Internet providers also tend to slow down the speed of the internet connection for downloads and uploads by clogging the stream with useless packets of data.

Due to this, there are clearly many proponents of net neutrality. However, there are some who speak against net neutrality. These are of course internet companies and government, but some others as well. Let’s compare the advantages and disadvantages of net neutrality.

Pros/Advantages

Cons/Disadvantages

  • Free internet
  • No restriction on using any part of the internet
  • Uninhibited and non discriminated access of the information on the internet
  • Gives all start-ups, online stores, and simple ecommerce sites the same chance or base as the big companies
  • Promotes innovation and creativity as anyone, anywhere on the internet has an equal chance as any bigwig
  • Promotes a competitive marketplace
  • Internet Service Providers (ISPs) cannot change the download or upload transfer rates depending on what people are accessing.
  • No Censorship
  • ISPs cannot monitor how and what their customers do on the Internet and sell or use that information as they choose.
  • ISPs cannot create slow and fast lanes traffic lanes to the data on the internet
  • Different levels of Internet service - could pay for more sophisticated infrastructure
  • The internet is expanding quickly and any laws in place would hinder it
  • These laws would get outdated pretty soon
  • Government telling companies what they can and cannot do
  • Doesn’t really fix major problems like the cost and slow Internet speeds

Image Courtesy: informit.com

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