At its core, Net Neutrality is a piece of legislature that lawfully binds ISPs (internet service providers, Comcast is the largest) to treat all web data equally. To be more specific, ISPs must treat all traffic the same.
That means traffic from one site (let us say CNN) cannot be faster/load quicker than traffic from another site (let us say Dakota State University’s portal). The technical overview is this: if you have a big network and you want to connect to someone else’s big network, you are providing them connectivity as much as they are providing you connectivity. Translatively, that means large ISPs do not charge each other for bandwidth.
This is what settlement-free peering is. Now, what if we have a group of people that want to connect to you? These people connect to your network, but you do not provide connectivity to anywhere else in the internet. You are not an ISP; you are just a big site that uses a lot of bandwidth. You are not providing connectivity to anywhere the ISP cannot already connect to. Net neutrality is about forcing ISPs to give free access networks like this, instead of making them pay for bandwidth.
One of the best examples was phrasing Net Neutrality as a mailing system. If you want to mail a package that weighs 10lbs and is full of pictures, the post office is going to charge you $15. Now, let us say you want to send another package that is DVDs, also 10lbs. However, even with the weight being the same as your pictures, the post office charges you $30 to send this parcel. With all intents and purposes, this sounds as they should be the same price — the logical argument is that 10 pounds is 10 pounds, so it should cost the same. This is the basis of net neutrality.
In the example of the parcel, the DVDs and the photos can be all translated into digital information – 1s and 0s. The only difference between a digital picture and a digital movie is the number of 1s and 0s that are needed to get that file to you. Net neutrality means that all of those 1s and 0s are treated equal and are sent to you with the same level of priority and the same speed. Telecom companies (Comcast, AT&T, T-Mobile, etc.
) do not share this view. They are saying that the 1s and 0s of sites like Netflix (our box of DVDs) should cost more and be treated different than sites like imgur (our box of pictures). They believe that they have a right to slow down or speed up the delivery of certain services based solely on what the content is.
They want to treat some 1s and 0s special and with exclusivity. Why is this a big deal? It is a big deal because it will heavily affect how access of information is readily available on the internet. Should you download a raw picture that is 2 gigabytes large, how is it different from streaming 2 gigabytes worth of a movie on Netflix? There is no additional cost to the telecom based on what kind of file is being transferred because, again, it is just a stream of 1s and 0s. However, telecoms assert that this should be different.
Another glaring issue revolves free speech and the free market. Should Net Neutrality not sustain, if a new ISP business opens, creates a website for you to sign up for their service, competing ISPs can slow down the traffic of that website. If, let us say Comcast decided they did not want the competition, they could add this website (blacklist) to a “slow” tier of websites. Now instead of the website coming up in 1 second, it takes 5 minutes to load. Imagine the damage this would do to that ISPs business if people cannot visit their site.
Content providers have consistently controlled the conversation regarding net neutrality. The cons of Net Neutrality have not been as large and affecting as repealing Net Neutrality would be. The cons that are of Net Neutrality is that there is no compensation for data usage. An “unregulated” internet is an uncensored internet. Many of these telecom companies have urged that the increasing prices could help infrastructure, although they struggle trying to justify how two different sources of content with the same size should justifiably be different prices.Economix: Net Nuetrality: What It Is, And Why You Should Care.
http://economixcomix.com/home/net-neutrality/. Retrieved January 25th, 2018.F.C.
C. Invokes Internet Freedom While Trying to Kill It, Sunday Review Editorial. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/29/opinion/sunday/fcc-invokes-internet-freedom-while-trying-to-kill-it.html.
Retrieved January 25th, 2018.Soros, Ford Foundations, ‘Lavish’ $196 Million To Push Internet Regulations, MRC Business. http://archive2.mrc.org/articles/soros-ford-foundations-lavish-196-million-push-internet-regulations.
Retrieved January 25th, 2018.