A Case For and Against Net Neutrality

  • April 16, 2015
  • Transparency Market Research
  • Feature

Net Neutrality is the hot topic of the moment and seeing as it deals with one of the most widely used utilities in the world, the Internet, it’s hard not to see why. Unregulated access to the Internet is an inalienable right of every buyer of data and fighting for it is a worthy fight. Or is it? The global debate over net neutrality broke out when the U.S. FCC received legal authority to ban blocking or throttling of certain websites by broadband providers. While most are rejoicing over the alleged benefits of this step towards increasing Internet speed and quality, many others are skeptical. Net Neutrality Not the Solution for Internet Quality and Penetration Issues While net neutrality regulations will prevent broadband suppliers from restraining or favoring certain websites, it doesn’t solve the issues of connection speed and quality. In developing regions such as India, where the net neutrality debate has picked up speed due to recent initiatives by telecom operators violating net neutrality, and Africa, it doesn’t solve the issue of high pricing, which keeps most of the population away from the Internet. Internet.org, Facebook’s venture to provide free access to certain sites in developing regions, has faced criticism, but the stated aim of the venture stands true. In regions like Southeast Asia and Africa, a majority of the population can’t access the Internet due to prohibitive prices. Internet.org, which comprises companies which will pay for the data usage of net users accrued while using their websites, allows users to access the websites for free, helping establish the Internet in regions where it is virtually absent. The counterargument to these claims is that the Internet should be treated as a utility the use of which lies in the hands of the users rather than the suppliers. However, this argument ignores the large chunk of the population that would rather have some of the utility, even if restricted, rather than the nil they can afford at present. If a solution can be found to the contradiction between the Internet’s fundamental aim to provide a channel of communication for all peoples of the world and the practical reality of the difficulty many people have in accessing it, the coexistence of net neutrality and ISP-controlled data distribution seems like the best way forward, at least in the short term.

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