There’s been a lot of talk about net neutrality, with people lobbying for it and accusing corporations of wanting to destroy it. But what is net neutrality, and how does it affect your browsing experience?
What Is Net Neutrality?
Net neutrality is a system where every website receives the same level of treatment, no matter how famous or profitable they are. This may seem like an odd concept; after all, people are treated the same no matter how big or small their website is. However, this model is exactly what some people want to see abolished.
If net neutrality goes away, it allows people to pay extra to speed up connections to their website. This creates an imbalance where paid websites will load faster than unpaid websites. There are advocates and critics to the abolishment of net neutrality, with both sides coming from different angles.
Why Do People Not Want Net Neutrality?
People lobbying against net neutrality are typically big businesses. They’re totally fine with the idea of paying some pocket change to have their website load faster than their competitors. As such, they want to abolish net neutrality so they can have an edge over everyone else. Keeping a monopoly on a specific product gets easier if a company can spend money to elevate its website above all others.
Some ISPs also like the idea of net neutrality. They argue that different websites have different demands depending on what content they provide. For example, an elderly lady making a website to list her casserole recipes will strain the ISP far less than Netflix’s HQ video streaming across millions of people.
As such, an ISP can use the abolishment of net neutrality to charge big companies extra. The more bandwidth a company uses, the more an ISP can charge them to maintain their position on the Internet. In the ISP’s eyes, this creates a fairer scene where the people who use the service the most pays the most.
Why Do People Want Net Neutrality?
If net neutrality is criticized by big business, then support of it come from the small to medium businesses and consumers. Net neutrality offers freedom for anyone to stake their claim on cyberspace without needing to hide in the shade of larger websites.
Small- and medium-sized businesses love net neutrality, as they have enough issues competing against large businesses as it stands. Should net neutrality be repealed, these smaller businesses may have to pay a fee in order to keep themselves afloat.
Consumers also don’t like the sound of being “forced” into specific websites. Consumers like selection, so the idea that websites will load slower if the webmaster doesn’t pay the fee isn’t ideal.
How Is Net Neutrality Fairing Today?
In October 2019, the latest result in the battle for net neutrality came through. In the US it was decided that individual states were allowed to dictate if net neutrality applies or not. This was a big win for net neutrality supporters, as it put control into individual state’s hands. A state can adopt net neutrality as it sees fit, depending on how its residents use the Internet.
The FCC tried to push to prevent states from abolishing net neutrality, but the courts decided this was too much. As such, the battle for net neutrality has become a state-based fight rather than a country-wide one.
To Be Equal, or Not to Be Equal
Abolishing net neutrality has its benefits and drawbacks. Typically, big business and ISP would love to see it abolished, while smaller businesses and the general public would like it to stay.
What’s your stance on net neutrality? Let us know below.