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What is Net Neutrality?

What is Net Neutrality?

The buzz word, Net Neutrality has been a hot topic of discussion and commentary among experts in the field of television and we want to help educate you more on the topic.  Let’s start by defining it for you…
net· neu·tral·i·ty : is the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.
The term “net neutrality” is vague and confusing to many.  Another accepted description is “open internet” where you can use your internet connection for anything you wish at no additional charge and with no restrictions — this would be a net neutral environment. A”closed internet” refers to a situation where corporations can restrict what you see over an internet connection and charge for it.

Neutrality proponents claim that telecom companies seek to impose a tiered service model in order to control the pipeline and thereby remove competition, create artificial scarcity, and oblige subscribers to buy their otherwise noncompetitive services. Many believe net neutrality to be primarily important as a preservation of current freedoms. Vinton Cerf, considered a “father of the Internet” and co-inventor of the Internet Protocol, as well as Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the Web, and many others have spoken out in favor of net neutrality.

Opponents of net neutrality claim that broadband service providers have no plans to block content or degrade network performance. Despite this claim, there has been a single case where an Internet service provider, Comcast, intentionally slowed peer-to-peer (P2P) communications. Still other companies have begun to use deep packet inspection to discriminate against P2P, FTP, and online games, instituting a cell-phone style billing system of overages, free-to-telecom “value added” services, and bundling. Critics of net neutrality also argue that data discrimination of some kinds, particularly to guarantee quality of service, is not problematic, but is actually highly desirable. Bob Kahn, co-inventor of the Internet Protocol, has called the term net neutrality a “slogan” and states that he opposes establishing it, but he admits that he is against the fragmentation of the net whenever this becomes excluding to other participants. Opponents of net neutrality regulation also argue that the best solution to discrimination by broadband providers is to encourage greater competition among such providers, which is currently limited in many areas.

Learn more about this topic in this educational video from Mashable.

 

Annette Lilly

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