Internet is one of the greatest inventions of 20th century, agree? It makes the flow of information across the world possible and that too within a matter of seconds. There are millions of websites, 2 million searches happening every minute (only Google), 1oK tweets/minute, 30,000 GBs of internet traffic/second, 25,000+ emails sent/second (source). And 24 hours = 86,400 seconds. Guess what? That’s just tip of the iceburg. Because this is surface web we’re talking about, which accounts for just a fraction of the real web. There’s deep web too and God knows what’s really happening/minute in whole World Wide Web.
So it’s incredibly huge. The Internet. None would argue. All this sounds like good & it’s good (the flow of information). Because now even a poor man with access to internet possesses the access to trillions of words of information, at no cost. Sure, there’s a bad side where illicit activities like drugs, weapons, hackings and lots of illegal things are for buy & sell. Which coin doesn’t have two sides anyway, right? That’s not all though.
Flow of information is good & none should be stripped of the right to access internet in its true form, right? That’s where Net Neutrality comes.
Concept of Net Neutrality
At its core, Internet is a trillions of packets of data, right? Net neutrality is the principle that guides how these data packets are delivered. The definition of net neutrality is the definition of open internet. Open internet is where all websites/applications are served by internet service providers without any discrimination or prioritization of one website against another. The internet we have today is based upon this principle of net neutrality. Because its where internet service providers don’t get a say in the type of websites we visit or websites we should visit.
Net neutrality lets you the same type of internet as another person. Without any bias against websites. An internet service provider can block or slow down political/religious websites with whose beliefs they disagree with.
How destructive can it be?
Fact is internet service providers are capable of monitoring websites we visit (unless you use TOR browser), prioritizing one website against another & also slow down and speed up certain websites. This is incredible power, you know. It simply means that they could throttle internet speed for Netflix, so streaming their videos is impossible (so you could utilize TV cable most of them serve). Internet service providers could also configure the network in a way, so Google (or any other website) opens up faster than its competition and turn receive money from the company.
You can see how destructive could this get, right? If only it wasn’t for the principle of net neutrality, ISPs could delay websites of tiny startups who didn’t sign an agreement with them and got on prioritizing access. They could also let a certain big corporation’s website open first, because company paid them. This way tiny startups’ websites would suffer loss of visitors, just because they didn’t pay ISPs.
Who won? Net Neutrality or ISPs?
Proponents of net neutrality has always fought against people anti-open-internet. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is that organization that regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable. In May 2014, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler exposed a plan through which carrier companies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast would have been allowed manipulate websites you visit and create pay-to-play fast lanes.
Due to media outcry and net neutrality believers’ protest, Wheeler had to shelve his original proposal and on February 5th, 2015, he would base new Net Neutrality laws on Title II of Communications Act, giving internet users strongest possible protection. FCC approved Wheeler’s proposal shortly after on February 26th. Though Net Neutrality won the day and proponents of open internet rejoiced the victory. But there are still dangers because opponents of open internet are trying with their full efforts to strip us of our basic rights.
May Net Neutrality win!