A Free and Open Internet?

                NET neutrality is the principle that governments should mandate Internet service providers to treat all data on the Internet the same, which basically means that no matter who a person is or what content, platform or website it is using, all data should be available at the same speed and price. This is how the White House described Net neutrality in 2015.

“An entrepreneur’s fledgling company should have the same chance to succeed as established corporations, and that access to a high school student’s blog shouldn’t be unfairly slowed down to make way for advertisers with more money,” – Barack Obama

In the United States, net neutrality has been an issue since the 1990s, but most recently after Ajit Pai became the FCC chairman in April 2017.  Net neutrality was supposed to keep the internet open, free and open to new innovations and economic growth, until Ajit Pai proposed to repeal the policies of Net Neutrality. On December 14, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted in favor of repealing these policies.

What does this mean for the common citizen? Firstly, successful companies, like Amazon, YouTube, Netflix or even Google, who oppose net neutrality, could pay an internet service provider to speed up the connection to their website or slow down the connection speed to their competitors. This would lead to more people using their faster website rather than supporting their slower competitors.

This would also mean that new businesses wouldn’t even get a chance to become successful because their connections would be a lot slower than the bigger companies’. New apps and websites wouldn’t be able to compete with their currently more successful adversaries.

A world without net neutrality would mean that you’d have to pay more to access everything you want on the internet. Keeping in mind that as the USA has voted to abolish net neutrality, there is a chance that other countries around the world, countries which look up to the USA, will start to do the same.

From the consumer’s perspective, a free and open Internet is a necessity for freedom of speech, commerce and communications and control over it should not be given to rich corporations wanting to make more money.

WRITTEN BY: Ivor Horvat

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