Save Net Neutrality

Save Net Neutrality

Net neutrality is of great importance for any user of internet services, and something we should all be aware of as its implications on the experience of the internet are far-reaching. Unfortunately, many of us take it for granted and are not aware that our right to net neutrality is under threat. In America the trump administration is working hard to remove the policies set down in Obama’s era. Closer to home, Vodafone in Portugal exploited loop-holes in European laws to provide a frightening insight to the future of the internet without net neutrality.

Net Neutrality is extremely important because it means your internet service provider (ISP) cannot distinguish between the different types of traffic you use while surfing the internet. Therefore, your ISP gives you fair and unfiltered access to the whole of the internet and all its services. This means the ISP cannot intentionally block, slow down or interrupt specific websites or online content. On the face of it you might not think this sounds all that interesting, but imagine if you were watching Netflix and your ISP limited you to non-HD streaming because you haven’t paid for the ‘premium’ package. This is the type of future we could face without net neutrality; a world where those who can pay get a superior experience. Vodaphone in Portugal have already taken a step down this route with their music and video ‘passes’. It might sound like a good idea and something you would subscribe to as a consumer, but this means they are influencing your use of the internet. This is not what the internet was built for! Sir Tim Berners-Lee gave the internet to the world for free and it should remain that way.

Certain companies stand to make huge profits from the removal of net neutrality, however as consumers, we stand to lose our freedom. As well as influencing the content we watch and consume, the ISPs will be able to restrict our access to information. The way the internet works would be turned on its head. In addition to charging consumers more, ISPs could charge websites for being accessible to customers. Its not difficult to imagine the damage this would do to young internet start-ups. Part of the reason we have the likes of Google, Reddit, and 9GAG are because entry costs for running a website are so low. A controlled and limited internet would destroy this environment and hinder innovation.

The Trump administration’s attack on the Obama era net neutrality rules is petty and we need to make it clear that this is above whatever personal feud is going on between the democrats and republicans. Imagine a world without access to free, impartial, and fair news. Governments and controlling parties could block access to sites such as WikiLeaks. Propaganda would become rife and the transition of power and influence would be directed towards those who have the money to pay for it.

There are many bad things to be said about the internet but through it all no one can deny that it is fair. The dropping prices of smart phones has meant simple access to the internet is cheaper than ever. For anyone with the equipment and the desire, the internet provides a portal to unlimited information. I cannot stress enough the importance of net neutrality and its foundation in unanimous freedom.

Author: Christopher Braithwaite

The founder of TMTalks, Christopher, is based in the United Kingdom and writes for the site in his free time. Particular areas of interest include Space, energy, cyber security and block-chain technology.

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