If you ask most people what they really want from their internet service, they’ll tell you they want it to be cheap, fast, and free from useless sites, popups, and information. Many people would be surprised to learn that one of the thickest barriers preventing this internet utopia is the principle of “Network Neutrality”.
Due to Net Neutrality, service providers have little freedom to create cheaper products for their customers, remove access to websites that are consuming excessive amounts of resources, and block popups or irrelevant information. Internet providers aren’t able to create products that better suit their customer’s needs, are prevented from limiting access to those who spend their entire day using up bandwidth of other customers, and are not permitted to block the unwelcome stream of fake sports infomercials.
The majority of the population believes that repealing Net Neutrality would have negative consequences, and opposes the current FCC as they attempt to do this. However, the removal of Net Neutrality could actually benefit consumers, companies, and
the economy in general.
Net neutrality 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 FCC passed net neutrality during Obama’s presidency, but Trump’s FCC is now trying to repeal the policy. Companies like Amazon and Netflix are for net neutrality while many like Nokia and IBM are against it.
Net Neutrality prevents consumers from purchasing targeted internet packages that include only the specific sites and services that the consumer actually wants to use. If consumers would like to have internet access for the sole purpose of gaining access to news sites like FOX and Breitbart, they are currently required to purchase internet access for the entire world wide web. Net Neutrality prevents companies from creating an “Internet Media Package” that gives their customers the option to purchase access to specific video sites for a lower price than having to pay for access to the entire internet. With the removal of Net Neutrality, consumers would have more freedom to buy products that suit their needs.
If a consumer is using sites that consume high amounts of bandwidth, that consumer is detrimentally impacting other consumers who do not use large amounts of resources. If Net Neutrality is repealed, ISPs can request that users pay more to go on resource intensive sites or service providers can request that the company pay them money for their higher bandwidth usage. With Net Neutrality in place, internet service providers are prevented from placing regulations and limits on their customers and the companies that are negatively impacting other people who use their service.
Net Neutrality entirely prevents internet service provision from possibly becoming a thriving sector of the economy. With the removal of Net Neutrality, internet service providers can charge companies and consumers for access to certain services. This will create more competition between internet service providers and can possibly give internet service providers monopolies on certain websites, like AT&T having easier access to Netflix. Our government and society depend on open markets and consumerism; the internet is now an integral part of our daily life. If we believe in a system where a free market is the best environment for encouraging innovation, risk-taking, and success, the internet, as the medium for sharing ideas, should be a true free market.
Those who support Net Neutrality often argue that the elimination of Net Neutrality would limit free speech and allow internet service providers to oppress their customers, but this assumes that there will only be an extremely limited number of ISPs in an area. If we allow more internet service providers into the market, regardless of how much any particular ISP limits what a consumer can see or use, the consumer would always have the option of a different service provider. The solution to preventing suppression of sites on the internet is to allow more service providers into the market, not to limit their freedom.
The common opinion on Net Neutrality is that it gives freedom to consumers to gain access to the entire internet, but in reality all Net Neutrality is doing is taking away freedom from internet service providers. Giving internet service providers freedom will only increase the amount of freedom consumers have by presenting them with more options. Net Neutrality prevents consumers from gaining access to internet products that suit their needs, it prevents internet service providers from gaining freedom to manage their customer’s bandwidth usage, and it prevents the possibility of internet service becoming a responsive free market.