Net neutrality regulations are basically the principle that gives individuals the freedom of accessing all applications and content equally, regardless of their source and without the Internet service Providers discriminating against particular online websites or services. To be explained in simple terms, companies connecting users to the internet do not get control of what the users do online simply by way of net neutrality.
The History of Net Neutrality
The term “net neutrality” was coined in the year 2002. Tim Wu, a professor of law at Columbia University, was the name behind the coinage of this term. In his paper detailing the same idea, Wu put forward an argument for a nondiscriminatory rule to be put in place for ensuring a level play field for different internet applications.
Since then, net neutrality has served as the center of the debate on internet regulations. Experts are of the view that net neutrality lowers the barriers to making an entry online giving business owners the scope of creating new and innovative firms like Dropbox, Uber, and Facebook.
However, critics argue that these regulations can turn out to be counterproductive thus discouraging investment in the field of internet infrastructure. This could also limit the ISPs’ flexibility to innovate.
How has Online Equality been preserved with Net Neutrality?
If net neutrality was not in perfect order, the Internet Service Providers could easily prevent the users from using certain websites, redirect the users from one site to some other competing site and even provide slower speeds for different services such as Hulu and Netflix.
The rules that have been brought into effect by way of net neutrality prevent of all the above situations simply by requiring the ISPs to conveniently connect the users to lawful content online and without any discrimination.
This also prevents the Internet Service Providers from offering preferential treatment to specific services and sites.
Consequences of Not Having Net Neutrality in Place
Without net neutrality, business and companies get the flexibility of buying priority access to the online consumers. This way the wealthier and the larger companies such as Facebook and Google can make huge payments to the Internet Service Providers for providing more reliable and faster access to their individual websites rather than providing access to potential competitors.
The result would be a complete discouragement for the innovative new businesses and companies that do not have the ability to purchase priority access from different ISPs. In addition to this, if the ISPs charge the online services for connecting them to consumers, the consumers might then have to bear extra or additional costs.
In the present times, there are new, approved and stronger net neutrality regulations and rules in place. These rules regulate internet access in the form of public utility.
Experts are still working on coming up with legislation that could reverse the existing net neutrality rules partially. There are also some challenges being faced in the courts pertaining to network neutrality.
There are several companies that have come up with the request of stopping the new net neutrality rules. They argue that net neutrality would hamper their scope of development and growth. These legal problems might take several years to reach a solution.