The Fifteenth Post

Net neutrality, or open internet, is the term describing that ISPs should give consumers access to all legal content and applications on an equal basis.  It prohibits ISPs from charging content providers for speedier delivery of their content on fast lanes and deliberately slowing the content from content providers that may compete with ISPs.  This idea of Net Neutrality is for the internet to be treated as an open platform, like any other utility we use in a home.


Some of the arguments for Net Neutrality include: ISPs would have too much power and no possibility for future invention with regards to websites.  If the ISPs, Verizon and AT&T, control the internet then the ISPs can maximize their own business interests.  An example from the article on lifehacker, is that Verizon and AT&T could dislike how someone is using Facebook for messaging instead of using the texting that Verizon and AT&T provide with a phone.  Then Verizon and AT&T decide to charge money for someone using Facebook because Facebook is taking up bandwidth and the ISPs know that they can make lots of money off of this.  ISPs could also force people into buying a texting plan.

The second problem with having the internet controlled by ISPs is that it would restrict new companies or startups on having a chance if their product was built around the web.  An example is that Netflix need lots of bandwidth to stream videos, so Comcast/Verizon/(other ISPs) would charge lots of money for all this bandwidth that Netflix is responsible for.  If a new video streaming company was trying to get started, the ISP would be charging the same rate as Netflix, but the new company would not be able to pay for the same bandwidth that Netflix can afford.  So someone would have the choice of Netflix where their videos would be very fast, or the new video site where the quality would be lower. This means to start a business that relies on bandwidth, would require a lot of money.

Arguments against Net Neutrality is that ISPs are not the internet itself, and that giving network bandwidth to whomever they choose is actually better.  ISPs are just a gateway to the internet, which means that someone can choose between the different ISPs if they are not satisfied.  ISPs argue that having this competition between the ISPs is actually better because then there are differences in services and it is not regulated.  If one ISP chooses to throttle Netflix and another one does not, then this gives the consumer a choice if they want Netflix to be fast or slow.  Currently, the reason to choose one ISP from another is that rates are different.

From an ISPs point of view they would actually be inspiring innovation if they could legally limit bandwidth. An example, if ISPs are allowed to limit bandwidth then it would force a content provider to innovate a way to be more efficient with bandwidth versus the ISP creating a more efficient method for bandwidth.


I am in favor of Net Neutrality.  The Internet is too important to be restricted to only those who can afford it.  A big reason why the internet needs to be standard and without restrictions on bandwidth is that we would be essentially being censored.  Being censored isn’t the worst thing, but there it would prevent capitalism and go against the constitution.  If Comcast wanted to limit bandwidth on Netflix and give more bandwidth to NBCUniversal (since Comcast owns NBC) then they could.  This would force NBC TV shows on people whether they wanted to watch them or not. There is obviously a reason why the ISPs are not in favor of Net Neutrality and content providers are in favor.  When it comes down to it, ISPs are the ones that have to pay more for having Net Neutrality.  Ultimately, I do consider that the Internet is a public service and fair access should be a basic right because almost any work done today would not be accomplished without the internet.


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