The Impact of Net Neutrality

The regulation of communication is essential but should not jeopardize the human rights to access to information. Since the inception of the telegrams and the phones, these media have been controlled and classified as common carriers means they are considered as public amenities. In 2004, the internet was classified as a common carrier that resulted in the net neutrality regulations that abolished all forms of discrimination to the access to legal information by ISP through banning of paid prioritization and blocking.  Nonetheless, the net neutrality laws were repealed in 2017 December.

This report evaluates the history of net neutrality, how it works, reasons for revoking the regulations, and the effects of the repeal on the small and large business entities along with the impact on consumers. The memo ends with a recommendation on the how to address the challenges resulting from the net neutrality.

Introduction

The internet has become a required tool of working and living in the modern society, addressing the question of whether it should be regulated.

Both its support and opponents have their rationale supporting their point view. From an informed perspective, Net Neutrality pros and cons are main subjects of perspectives with several stakeholders involved. For instance, most of the drawbacks concerning its policies are usually presented by the ISPS while most of the pros come from the consumers and especially heavy data spenders (ACLU, 2017).

Background

Net Neutrality refers to the perception of the open internet, where no internet services or websites get priority over others, there is equality in charges, and nothing legal gets blocked.

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The policies on Net Neutrality were enacted in 2015 following accusations directed to internet service providers (ISPS) concerning manipulation of accessibility and speed of respective websites. Before the acting of the regulations under consideration, ISPS could charge extra costs for faster traffic and amount of data used by the consumer. Moreover, the providers could either slow down or block traffic of individual websites. In recent times, net neutrality has become a debatable topic in the US since the Republicans are against it and are in support for its abolition. In light of these, this posting considers both the pros and cons of net neutrality and then suggest that such policies should be eliminated.

One ht1 of the essential aspect to consider when making decisions concerning Net Neutrality is innovation on both bandwidth and infrastructure. The ISPS are responsible for funding, improving, and maintaining the infrastructure required for internet sustainability. Ideally, in the absence of improvement, which is an aspect of innovation, provision of reliable internet services would stagnate. Upholding the current Net Neutrality regulations is of adverse effect to innovation since the ISPS do not have the motive concerning monetary rewards to innovate.

Furthermore, the ISPS will continue to look for the need for improvement and competition since the charges for all provisions are standardized. In my perception, to foster innovation, consumer charging should be based on speed, Internet usage, and the number of people using the internet, which could benefits both the consumers and the internet providers (ISPS).  One of the major pros of Net Neutrality is affordability. Ideally, heavy consumers of data such as online gamers and Netflix users are favored by the current internet usage policies. Although this is an advantage on their side, it is a disadvantage to low data users because the standard charging does not reflect their internet data usage, or the data that is used by low data users. In these considerations, they started the policy of Banning Net Neutrality.

Net Neutrality emerged in 2005 following the adoption of policies and rules guiding the principles of network neutrality by Federal Communication Commission. The principal goal was to facilitate competition and enhance the continued advancement of the internet for the benefit of all the users. The issue of net neutrality would improve advanced telecommunications for all the users at a reasnable cost fee. Back in 2005 the FCC mainly paid attention to the important role of the internet in enhancing education and information.

Additionally, the internet was a perceived to be a medium that could represent the actual political discourse, increase cultural development, while encouraging sharing of intellectual information. In regards to the economic growth, the net neutrality would enhance productivity at a low cost through sharing of information. Through the internet neutrality, the internet would enable open and vibrant communication as technological advancement was adopting the broadband.

Following the adoption of the principles of net neutrality, there have been arguments for and against the concept of Net Neutrality as firms forward their concerns to the Congress. Thus, from 2005 to 2015, five failed attempts have been made to create provisions. The bills aimed at guarantying the preservation of the open internet for consumers while giving the internet service providers the freedom to control the pricing models based on the user’s use of the service. Several efforts have been made to repeal the policies and have mainly been proposed by large internet communication stakeholders among the common cases include the 2014 case, Verizon vs. FCC that resulted in the latter changed its classification to the common carrier while revising the open internet guidelines. Thus the ruling was made in favor of FCC that accepted the reclassification of the broadband being referred to as the common carrier. However, it was not until Ajit Pai, the incumbent  FCC chairman successfully repealed against the net neutrality policies in 2017 April.

Without Net Neutrality

Information technology enables sharing of information using the internet by allowing users to have easy access to content. When individuals go to the internet, they have the expectations of finding what they are searching or getting access to information easily. The internet providers have the responsibility of ensuring seamless flow of content and allowing access to websites without messing with data of the sites, applications, and content that users want. The fundamental principle that governs the internet service providers is network neutrality, which prohibits them from interfering with the flow of content from the websites to the users. The internet has always worked in a way that ensures that the service providers do not block any content, applications or websites or have a direct hand in speeding the flow of data. It is vital that the service providers such as AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon desist from interfering with the freedom of users and content owners. The Federal Communications C omission should ensure that the traditional freedom and openness of the internet remains. Individuals should have the ability to share and access information from the internet without interference based on the net neutrality concept.

Without network neutrality, the internet would not be a medium of information technology as it would limit the rights of the people and enable manipulators from the internet service providers to decide the kind of content that the users should access. Over the last one decade, there have been changes in the policies put forward in the protection of the rights of the people to have smooth access to the content.

The Impact of Net Neutrality on Business

Net neutrality regulation aims at ensuring that all the people or organizations had equal access to the internet irrespective of their size. That would offer everyone a chance to embrace the internet without any level of discrimination. Thus, all the business and people would have an equal access to the web content through a level playing ground. The banning of net neutrality would have result to a reverse situation. That mean it would discriminate against the low income earners and the small businesses at the expense of the large firms and wealthy individuals who can afford the premium internet packages that are characterized with high quality of speed and efficiency Coren, 2017). The banning of net neutrality makes data prioritization expensive hence demanding firms to increase their budgetary allocation for the data. Inability for a consumer to afford the internet or the premium content would result in loss of the online channel. Thus, the many small firms will be the great losers yet they are the main factors behind economic group while the large firms will be able to control the online content and manipulate it for their own purposes. The internet-of-things would lose its meaning

The banning of net neutrality will affect the internet stakeholders. The effect will be beneficial to the stakeholders who provider in infrastructure or use it to run their errands. And most of the stakeholders are big companies like google, facebook, Microsoft, and many others.

On big businesses: The repealing of the net neutrality regulations will benefit the big businesses on a large scale. This is because they will be able to control the freedom of internet users through determining what can be accessed online and their online activity. The FCC claims that it will enhance competition through market forces, the opponents argue that it will kill competition and the internet freedom.

Additionally, the broadband firms will be able to invest more in telecommunication to ensure their products and services are at a competitive advantage. Repealing the will enhance competition among the large broadband providers and new startup for firms with vast financial and human to invest in and deliver applications needed in the global market (Core, 2017). Below is a Table I below shows the likely effect of the FCC repeal. The table shows the main concerns for by the stakeholders following the repealing of the net neutrality:  .

The banning of the net neutrality is a product of war between the large telecom firms, Verizon, AT&T and Comcast against rivals that are taking control over the internet who include Netflix, Google, and Facebook. Thus, the telecom firms are against being used as dump pipes for billion of dollars of content supplied by others. As a result, content companies and communications firms are competing with one another through making heavy investments. The cost of the investments will be passed to clients.

Small business: In the other hand, small firms will find it hard to compete with the large firms since the online content, and the big firms will determine the rate of data flow. That means the small firms will be dominated by the large firms that will afford premium services. Thus, unfair competition will be the order of the day as the small firms will have the internet connection moving to the new dark web. More so, new small firms will have more entry barriers as the big firms will dominate the market. The small businesses will be faced with challenges that entail

The Effect on Consumers

According to Quarav (2017), for the consumers, they will have limited options since they will have to pay for the internet services that they can afford following the repeal by Title II of the telecommunications act. That means the consumers will not support local firms that use the revenue to create economic growth through the creation of jobs and infrastructure. For consumers to access premium content, they will have to pay more. That means the consumer level of satisfaction will depend on the amount they plan to budget on the internet costs.

And it will be the end of small independent business on the internet.

The Reason for Banning Net Neutrality

The reasons for banning the net neutrality are mainly propelled by the large ISP, telecommunications firms, notable technologies, and computer software and hardware manufacturers. There many firms that oppose the Tittle II reclassification of the broadband a common carrier. The firms advocating for the banning of net neutrality include Verizon, Nokia, Broadcom, Comcast, and AT&T, among many others. The individuals against the internet regulation include Marc Andreessen, Bob Khan, David Farber, and Jeff Pulver, among others, while some corporate entities include National Urban League and League of United Latin American Citizens. The reasons for banning net neutrality include:

  • The opponents of net neutrality claim that it would result in benefiting the industry lobbyists rather than consumers because of the regulatory capture that would protect the lobbyist interests.
  • It threatened the well-known domains against other ISP providers while forcing the best option would be to enhance competition and thus guarantee quality access to the internet. Inability to access quality access to the internet would mean that consumers would indirectly be paying more for the internet since they will have slow internet connection due to lack of competition.
  • The regulation deters healthy investment since there are no returns for offering a homogeneous product. Thus the investor will not find it economically feasible but will reduce their investment from the telecommunications sector and direct it to other industries. That will reduce the sector’s contribution to the economy.
  • Data discrimination is a good approach in a competitive environment since it guarantees competition necessary to ensure quality services while enhancing innovation.

How Banning Net Neutrality Works?

The net neutrality rules focuses on ensuring that the net providers offered equal access to all web information which client were protected from being charged for efficiency and quality delivery was repealed in 2014 December. This was a principal goal of the latest FCC chairmen, Pai, who has always objected the net neutrality regulations. He termed the regulations are being hypothetical and uncalled for. The net neutrality laws had been effective since 2015 by which Title II of the Communication Act considered broadband service as utility (ACLU, 2017). Among the laws that were revoked by the repeal included:

  • Blocking: the ISP were barred from discriminating any legal content through blocking the applications or websites
  • Throttling: the ISP could not regulate the speed of data connection provided the data is legal.
  • Paid prioritization: the ISP could not discriminate clients by offering premium services for quality and efficient clients at the expense of the ordinary citizens

Through the repealing, there is a likelihood that broadband providers will offer internet bundles, which is already the case in some economies like Portugal. Pay-to-play deals are likely to emerge as paid prioritization by the big firms, media, and wealthy families will be offered premium products that are in the fast lane while slow late will be a reservation for the ordinary citizens. Considering that all aspects of humanity are embedded around the internet, then the repealing of the net neutrality will have a great effect on humanity. The business with high dependency on the internet will be required to pay for premium subscription or run out of business since not client will be interested in surfing websites with slow connection. More so, persons dependent on the internet such as remote workers or freelancers will require higher costs to sustain their businesses.

Conclusion

Net neutrality is an old concept that dates back to the advent of telecommunication; however, its popularity has increased in the 2000s. The increased prevalence of internet as the household service and in the business arena has resulted in the urgency to have it controlled. The control of the internet has revolved around its classification as a common carrier or as a service provider. This is because distinct laws are governing the use of the media respective classification. The net neutrality was aimed at enabling the free flow of information from the ISP without any level of discrimination in regards to throttling, paid prioritization or blocking in 2004 after the internet was classified as common carrier. However, this was repealed in December 2017. The main reason for the repeal was to enhance investment in the infrastructure through competition by the ISP. The repeal of the net neutrality regulation has effects on the users, both the small and large firms, along with the providers.

However, despite many small firms being adversely influenced by the repeal, the benefits outweigh the costs. This is because the firms will guarantee an improved quality of service as they try to attain a competitive advantage. Other firms involved in the development of infrastructure will also have the incentives to develop quality products for the ISP providers. However, the main cost is that the cost of investment will be met by the consumer through premium services. While the repeal is likely to push the small scale ISP providers outside the sector, quality services are necessary for the 21st century where internet connectivity is an important stander of living in now days.

While the debate regarding the repeal and policies regarding internet neutrality continue among the stakeholders; the policymakers need to safeguard the interest of the consumers along with the fate of the small ISP firms. The consumer’s policymakers need to ensure that consumer gets value for their money. More so, the FCC should guarantee healthy competition through ensuring that ISP only offer paid prioritization for only specialized services for big companies while ensuring that the price of the internet does not go up for average consumers.

Reference

  1. A Timeline of Net Neutrality. (2018). Retrieved from http://whatisnetneutrality.org/timeline.
  2. ACLU. (2017).WHAT IS NET NEUTRALITY? Retrieved from https://www.aclu.org/issues/free-speech/internet-speech/what-net-neutrality
  3. Coren, M.J. (2017). What will happen now that net neutrality is gone? We asked the experts. Quartz. Retrieved from https://qz.com/1158328/what-will-happen-now-that-net-neutrality-is-gone-we-asked-the-experts/.
  4. http://whatisnetneutrality.org/timeline. Retrieved from https://www.aclu.org/issues/free-speech/internet-speech/what-net-neutrality
  5. Quarav. (2017). How Repealing Net Neutrality Will Affect Local Business ? Tribe Local. Retrieved from https://tribelocal.com/repealing-net-neutrality-affect-local-business/.
  6. Reardon, M. (2015). Net neutrality: How we got from there to here. Retrieved from https://www.cnet.com/news/net-neutrality-from-there-to-here/.
  7. Tim Wu (2003). ‘Network Neutrality, Broadband Discrimination’ (PDF). Journal on telecom and high tech law. Retrieved from http://www.jthtl.org/content/articles/V2I1/JTHTLv2i1_Wu.PDF

Cite this page

The Impact of Net Neutrality. (2021, Apr 22). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/the-impact-of-net-neutrality-essay

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