The term “net neutrality” or “network neutrality” arose from a set of concerns regarding the role of telecommunication and cable companies or Internet service providers (ISPs) in the delivery of data over the internet. It generally refers to the idea of equal access to content delivered over the Internet and non-discrimination of Internet content providers, types of content (text, video or audio) or methods of their transfer (HTTP, FTP, bittorrent). Advocates of net neutrality typically call for a legal mandate that would ensure net neutrality by restricting ISP’s from practices deemed discriminatory.
Proponents include such companies as Google, Yahoo, Vonage, eBay, Amazon, IAC/InterActiveCorp and to some extent Microsoft as well as such persons as Moby, Tim Berners Lee, Steve Wozniak, Barack Obama etc. The net neutrality movement gained significant legal inroads in the USA over the last few years from FCC’s 2005 Broadband Policy Statement outlining principles regarding consumer entitlement to any lawful content, any lawful application, any lawful device and any provider to 2009 FCC proposal of full fledged net neutrality rules. The latter is criticized by net neutrality proponents for inclusion of an exception to open Internet rules for activities involving the unlawful distribution of copyrighted works which would allegedly allow ISP’s to act as “copyright cops”.
Opponents to net neutrality include cable and telecommunication companies and some noted Internet engineers such as professor David Farber and Bob Kahn (inventor of TCP) as well as those generally opposed to government regulation.
Net neutrality advocates are concerned that cable and telecommunication companies may act as “internet gatekeepers” of content providing faster access to some while slowing it down or denying it to others and utilizing an “unfair business model” which involves charging content providers for faster delivery of their content to users while slowing it down or denying it to non-paying providers. This is believed to be harmful for competition and innovation in the market.
Other concerns involve potential undermining of Internet standards by altering the transmission of bits and violating end-to-end principles of the Internet (according to which it is a “dumb network” that does no more than pass bits around while leaving their processing to end user or server side applications).
There are also ideological concerns regarding the preservation of “digital freedoms”, openness and “democratic communication” which is believed to be dependent on neutral treatment of all data transmission.
Those who oppose “net neutrality” believe that government regulation will do more harm than good as it will interfere with telecommunication companies’ ability to innovate and efficiently deal with the challenge of accommodating increased bandwidth requirements (especially due to increased popularity of multimedia streaming sites) and increase costs and amount of time required to recoup investments into new technologies. There are also concerns regarding the ability of regulators to keep up with rapidly evolving and changing world of technologies involved.
Net neutrality regulations could also interfere with packet filtering necessary to perform such useful and necessary services as combating denial of service attacks, filtering spam, preventing the spread of computer viruses and improve the user experience by optimizing access to the type of content more valuable to the user (such as preferring fast web page loads to FTP transfers).
It is also pointed out that the Internet already isn’t neutral in that wealthier content providers can buy better servers (or server farms) and faster data links to make their sites faster than those of providers who cannot afford such infrastructure.
Some also argue that net neutrality legislation is a slippery slope towards more Internet regulation which will increase the costs of doing business online due to the necessity to keep up with and comply with regulations, potentially impacting innovation. It may also merely shift the balance of power from Internet access providers to big content providers such as the entertainment industry creating a situation opposite to what net neutrality advocates may desire.
WordPress database error: [Can't create/write to file '/tmp/#sql_1140_0.MYI' (Errcode: 28)]
SELECT t.*, tt.* FROM wp_terms AS t INNER JOIN wp_term_taxonomy AS tt ON tt.term_id = t.term_id INNER JOIN wp_term_relationships AS tr ON tr.term_taxonomy_id = tt.term_taxonomy_id WHERE tt.taxonomy IN ('category') AND tr.object_id IN (3038) ORDER BY t.name ASC