by Precious Uwaya, Michelle Pooran, and Carla Cornejo
Net Neutrality, also called internet neutrality or network neutrality, is the concept that internet services should provide nondiscriminatory access to internet content. Meaning companies providing internet services should not manipulate the source data regardless of its source or destination. Net neutrality is very controversial because the lack of free access to contents could change the accessibility of the internet. In 2014, the verdict to the court case “Verizon vs FCC” ruled that the internet service provider Verizon change FCC (Federal Communications Commission) regulations regarding Net Neutrality, giving Verizon leeway to disregard Net neutrality laws. Internet Service Providers are classified as “information services” meaning they are not required to provide equal services to everyone.
President Obama said he was “urging” Tom Wheeler, the president of the FCC, to set certain rules to “reclassify” ISPs as common carriers. He does not actually have the official authority to change what he wants from in the FCC, so he cannot directly control net neutrality. That is why many people are not relying on him and are taking matters into their own hands. Organizations are pushing people to contact the FCC on websites like dearFCC.org to express their opposition to a ban on net neutrality.
The supporters of net neutrality believe there should not be any prioritization within the internet. They want all websites to be treated the same because if a big company like Netflix, for example, pays to be prioritized, smaller competing companies will not have a chance to develop because they will not be able to pay Internet Providers.
Opponents of net neutrality mostly have a difficulty with the involvement of the government. According to gawker.com, “opponents argue that if broadband ISPs cannot collect fees from companies who take up an outsized portion of their bandwidth, they lose the incentive to invest in maintaining and upgrading their current infrastructure, which could hurt consumers”.
Consumers often benefit from gaining access to a wide range of service options over their broadband connection. However, for this access one must pay a monthly fee and any additional charges. People don’t usually see the composition of the charges they pay. ISP’s are ultimately attempting to offer many services within a package in order for it to be at a regular price. While ISP’s are being denied revenue, they are also being forced to pay more for fewer service.
If net neutrality is in fact interpreted to have operators invest in network infrastructure, the economy would ultimately be the group largely impacted. As this has been assessed, it has been concluded that the impact would most likely involve a decrease in jobs that are supported by Internet infrastructure.