Net neutrality underscores the need to introduce equality in the way different Internet stakeholders treat data, with governments and Internet service providers being the key players. The past few decades have experienced an unprecedented technological revolution. Net neutrality has led to massive connectivity coupled with introducing novel ways of doing things. The Internet extensiveness and pervasive proliferation have eventually fostered social engagements through networking to create a globally accepted working tool. Net neutrality creates a free and fair platform to Internet users, which include individuals, companies, and organizations. A debate has been raging on if something should be done to control those who access the Internet.
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Moreover, some individuals propose the implementation of the net neutrality regulations, and the others oppose such propositions. If the net neutrality regulations are implemented, they will infringe on Internet competition, innovations, freedoms, and free speech. The net neutrality regulations should not be implemented; on the contrary, net neutrality should be embraced in its entirety.
Some individuals have vetoed net neutrality as they are ready to ensure that the proposed regulations are affected. The proposed policies will “impose dramatic new restrictions on broadband Internet access service providers” (Albenesius par.1). The proponents of the net neutrality regulations believe that the Internet service provider will tamper with information privacy. Also, they are suspicious of the ISP’s transparency as it may view the subscriber’s contents and use the information for financial purposes. However, the Internet is all about openness and accessibility. The Internet will be of no use “if it weren’t open, it wouldn’t be the internet” (Riley 20 and Cleland 20).
When the Internet is open, users can access information directly and indiscriminately. Without net neutrality, business, or services from various companies may have an unfair competitive advantage over the others. ISP may block smaller companies and increase Internet access to big companies, which have paid large amounts to access the services. Riley posits, “Without net neutrality, AT&T, Comstat, and Verizon would be free to favor Hulu, but block Netflix” (20). Freedom on the Internet can only be realized if people have full access to required information.
On the other hand, the opponents of net neutrality do not want such equality so that they can deliver services in hierarchy. They want to provide these services in levels, as they believe that users should be in a position to pay depending on the offered services. The opponents are pitted against offering a common platform for the content users. By opting to provide services based on how much the content user can pay, it bridges the genuine competition in the net neutrality principles where all the companies have a flat level to display their contents on the Internet (Riley 20). For example, it may be assumed that a small company has been in business for five months, and another big company has been in operation for the last fifty years. If these companies are to be offered services according to how much they can pay, then the small company will unquestionably stand no chance. With genuine competition gone, “on the consumer end, paying supra-competitive prices for the Internet is, on its face, more of antitrust harm than a net neutrality violation” (Reicher 738). Therefore, Internet users are likely to get Internet services at inevitably high costs.
Also, the antagonists of net neutrality claim that the ISPs should censor what is to be uploaded or downloaded, coupled with the access of the users to the contents. Also, ISPs can block the contents criticizing the companies that they favor and their favorite politicians. Furthermore, the ISPs can block those companies that seem to pose a threat to them in terms of competition. Without net neutrality, the ISPs can monitor the use of the Internet and change the upload or download transfer speeds and rates depending on what the user is accessing. If the ISPs are given the mandate of censoring the contents of the Internet, they may collude with some autocratic countries to shut down the voices of democracy. In such a case, Internet users will be “Left to their own devices; the broadband gatekeeper will chisel away at our right to engage in open internet communication” (Riley 20). In some countries across the world, people are not allowed to gather and air their views on the economic, social, and cultural activities; however, they can share their views and grievances through the Internet.
Websites like Facebook connect numerous people from different countries, classes, and races. Such social media sites are tools of communication that enable people to exchange information and ideas. With the net neutrality regulations in place, such social media sites can block some users with directives from governments in the name of countering hate speech in society people. Activists have used social media sites to champion for human rights all over the world. They have been in a position to mobilize people through social sites to stage demonstrations, which catch the authorities unawares.
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People have also been in a position to share content over social media sites, which has significantly changed the temporary world. For instance, homicide incident caught on camera can be shared for people across the world to watch, voice their condemnations on the killing and push the government to take the appropriate action. Sharing of videos and music on sites, such as YouTube, enables the cultural exchange amongst different races of the world, thus creating a bond and sense of peace globally. If the net neutrality regulation is passed, content providers, such as YouTube, may be limited in terms of the content that the public can upload or download. Net neutrality should remain in place to protect the right of free speech.
While the opponents of net neutrality are rallying behind the legislation of the proposed regulations, they have forgotten that open Internet has led to monolithic innovations around the world. The Internet provides a vast research environment where users can identify problems and use the same open Internet to find solutions; for example, the developing of applications that make the Internet efficient. The free access and posting of information over the Internet create a sense of self-esteem, which allows introverted geeks to come up with novel ideas and life-changing innovations. Also, through the open Internet, people discover an inherent weakness in the already developed solutions, and thus modify and make them perfect.
In conclusion, the government should promote net neutrality, as opposed to supporting the net neutrality regulations, which will incontrovertibly violate human rights (Albenesius par.1). Internet democracy in the 21st century should not be interrupted. On the contrary, it should be guarded at all costs, thus allowing people to exchange ideas and make the world a better place for their coexistence.
Albenesius, Chloe. “Verizon: FCC Net Neutrality Rules Violate First Amendment” PCMag 2012: 20, 23. Print.
Cleland, Scott. “No need for net neutrality regulation” Network World, 2011. Web.
Reicher, Alexander. “Redefining net neutrality after Comcast v. FCC.” Berkeley Technology Law Journal 26.733 (2011): 733-763. Print.
Riley, Chris. “Innovation begins with an open Internet” PCMag 2012: 20, 23. Print.