The Net in Neutrality

Micro Visions Net NeutralityRecently, net neutrality has proven that it is nothing if not controversial, and with both sides claiming the other will endanger internet access freedom, the debate is beginning to be puzzling at best and infuriatingly incoherent at worst. To alleviate some of your frustration (because that’s the sort of thing we do around here), we’ve condensed the mudslinging into a concise set of bullets for you to bite (which one is less messy has not yet been determined).

To consider: Net neutrality is defined as the free and unrestricted access to all information on the internet.

PRO net neutrality:

  • The FCC banned throttling (intentional internet slowing), blocking (restricting access to specific websites), and paid prioritization (line cutting). Nobody wants to deal with any of them, and with good reason.
  • Net neutrality guarantees freedom of speech given that there would be no redirecting or blocking online. All content is to be equally accessible to everyone to maximize information distribution and innovation.
  • Netflix doesn’t want to pay your ISP more to give you its services if you’re already paying your ISP. Ideally, net neutrality would prevent ISPs from charging for what you do online specifically in addition to you being online generally.

CON net neutrality:

  • Most companies either don’t bother with these throttling, blocking, or paid prioritization policies or they implement them into the contracts (the customer is either unaffected or warned). This renders net neutrality either irrelevant or obstructive to business.  Additionally, throttling specific websites has been banned, but there is nothing to stop  providers from slowing down the entire internet.
  • Increasing regulation hinders the free market, which is currently that convenient little thing allowing us to have internet in the first place.
  • Rotary phone rules are applied to the internet, which should prove an interesting combination.

Bottom line? That depends on whether or not you believe the government’s place is in the market. Economically, the results seem to point in either direction, and practically, ISPs aren’t out to get anyone. Alas, this is a primarily political matter after all.