The United States were founded on the concept of freedom, and it is known as the country of opportunities because everyone is free to say or think whatever they want. However, the Internet is a completely different place. It is referred as a place with very few restrictions and as a utopia for the citizens of the world. It all sounds amazing, but some of the American ISPs wanted more control over their business.
What is net neutrality?
It’s a seemingly complicated concept, but in reality, it’s a pretty simple philosophy. It’s an act which advocates that all content on the Internet should be treated equally. Furthermore, broadband providers shouldn’t be able to decide which websites and sources to block or slow down. For example, if you’re paying for cable Internet to a service provider, you expect everything to be available and within a few clicks. Also, platforms such as Netflix or Hulu should run without an issue and provide their users with entertainment and education.
However, without Net neutrality, nothing is stopping your provider from blocking particular websites, limit your bandwidth, and so on. Well, that’s what happened in 2007 when one ISP blocked text messages from the “Abortion rights” group. They’ve said that they have the right to prevent consumer’s access to any group that the ISP labels as “controversial.” One other ISP lowered down Netflix’s streaming speeds until they paid for smoother streaming.
In this complete mayhem of court sessions and lawsuits, it’s hard to determine who’s losing the battle. Well, it seems hard, but it’s pretty obvious. You can draw a conclusion from this analogy: Let’s say that FedEx wants money from Amazon because their packages take up a significant portion of their shipment, and FedEx thinks they should chip in for their truck repair expenses. To pressure Amazon, FedEx slows down their delivery time. However, the consumer is the one who’s suffering while two major forces are in battle because the delivery is delayed.
As you can see, the consequences are enormous. Another good example is if a company like AT&T offered free data services for Direct TV (which is an AT&T subsidiary.) It could harm other streaming services competing for customer subscriptions on the network.
The FCC wants to establish crystal-clear rules to make sure that broadband ISPs can’t restrict certain aspects or charge money for redundant services. Both of these providers (Verizon and AT&T) insist their programs are open to any video companies who want to pay for customer data. The FCC, on the other hand, says that since both companies own their networks, provide streaming services, and impose aggressive pricing for those services, it would be a cost advantage over other companies that couldn’t compete.
Whether or not there will be any action beyond the FCC’s report is unlikely since the chairman Tom Wheeler stepped down after the latest elections. His successor doesn’t appear to agree much with the FCC’s recent rulings and reports.