Net Neutrality Pros and ConsPosted on 10th March 2021
You may have heard that net neutrality was officially revoked by the Federal Communications Commission several years ago. Though we had a chance to see some consequences of that decision, the discussions over whether they are positive or negative and whether it is ever possible to restore net neutrality are still ongoing. What do you think about it? Do you have enough information to come up with a personal opinion?
If you’re not sure, read on. We want to show you all the significant pros and cons that will affect your point of view. And let’s start with the early basics.
What is Net Neutrality?
If you have never met the Net neutrality term, you likely have heard about the Open Internet. It is the concept of treating all online connections equally, without exceptions. Internet Service Providers don’t have a chance to discriminate against vulnerable services or websites when it comes to net neutrality. And it means that they control what you and other users can and can’t access.
Back in 2017, the Federal Communications Commission raised the need to cancel net neutrality issues. Providers that were no longer classified under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934 could charge businesses for blocking Internet access, slowing down their other companies, and boosting their services’ speeds. By the end of the year, FCC allowed providers to sell their customers’ data even without their permission. Though there were some attempts to reinstate the revoked net neutrality, those efforts were unsuccessful.
Of course, it is impossible to say that net neutrality is 100% good. However, the list of its disadvantages is also not that impressive. Let’s take a look at both of them to understand your opinion and what can be done with it.
Advantages of Net Neutrality That We Should Consider
- Same rules for all game players. In the world of business, we need some kind of a place where people with more money can’t receive special treatment. It is not that fair when small enterprises can’t offer their services because they don’t have enough funds to pay for fast lanes. With net neutrality, ISPs don’t have the opportunity to slow down their websites. The same principle works for small creators. When their YouTube channel is the only source of income, it doesn’t even go about the competition with huge enterprises. So, people who are protecting net neutrality are primarily protecting the level playing field.
- Freedom of expression. We are living in a society that never was so free for people with different views, mindsets, habits, and ways to express themselves. It is a society where we can’t imagine that your Internet Service Provider can block your content or slow down your website just because it doesn’t like what you are sharing online (of course, until it is something illegal). However, they can. Nothing stops ISPs from censoring online resources. That’s why freedom of speech and expression can be considered the essential advantages of net neutrality.
- No exceptions. With net neutrality, there is a guarantee that all people on the Internet have the same rights and duties. The high-quality content online is available for everyone, not for wealthy people only. If it becomes a luxury, it affects social exclusion.
- No additional payments. When net neutrality is revoked, your Internet Service Provider can charge you if you want to boost your video streaming speeds, get faster online gaming, and so on. Of course, businesses don’t pay for improving these services themselves, and they just transfer this burden to the customers. Regular people should pay more for something they could receive absolutely for free.
Disadvantages of Net Neutrality That May Change the Picture
- Consumers don’t pay for their data. When the net is neutral, you only pay for the service, not the traffic. And if you use less bandwidth than other customers, you may not want to invest in the development of the infrastructure necessary to increase high-bandwidth activities. If you take a look at statistics, you’ll find out that video streaming services caused 57% of the bandwidth used in the world in 2018. Sounds impressive, right?
- Illegal content is not limited. When it goes about freedom of expression and free access to any kind of online content, most people forget about the amount of illicit, dangerous, and offensive content. Meanwhile, it is accessible to all people, even underage. It is difficult to remove, but we can remove net neutrality. So that Internet service providers receive full powers to filter the information people face when being online.
- There is no talk of new infrastructure. What are the consequences of the situation when the Internet Service Provider can’t charge more for its services, e.g., faster speeds? When are large amounts of data used just for free? Well, ISPs just don’t receive money to support their infrastructure. And they simply don’t have the opportunity to expand their network to rural areas, especially the high-speed network.
- Tedious rules and bureaucracy. When we have net neutrality with all its rules, the Federal Communications Commission must take a lot of time and effort to control whether the ISPs are able to comply with these rules. Providers have to submit reports, and it is really costless, regardless of the ISPs’ size.
As you may understand, the net neutrality issue is pretty controversial. Arguments pro are really convincing, and many people strongly believe that the Internet should be free. But it is also impossible to ignore the arguments against it. And the status quo is such that the adherents of freedom should accept it at least until a worthy solution is worked out. However, speaking about possible solutions, it is necessary to mention that your Internet Service Provider can only throttle your connection and block content if it tracks your online activities. Use a VPN to avoid it. VeePN routes your online traffic through a chosen server, encrypting it and protecting it from hackers. ISPs, and local authorities. Pay attention to the fact that you are not completely invisible, but it doesn’t matter pretty much when you know that your traffic looks gibberish to any third parties that you would like to keep aside.