The Importance of Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality stands for the idea that all data on the Internet should be treated equally, which including no charging different companies differently, no slowing down or blocking certain websites. But the new chairman of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ended the investigation about mobile phone companies charging users differently for using different apps.

Just like what Christopher Ali said in his article “Data Privacy: Is Trump’s FCC Redefining Public Interest as Business Interest?”, FCC was first set to protect the public interest and keep the diversity of broadcasting and telecommunication market, but they have let big companies take over the control for the past decades. Big companies such as Verizon, Comcast, AT&T and Time Warner are dominant in the internet-providing market of the US. Without the competition of a diverse of companies, they have made a huge profit from the US consumers.  That is why net neutrality is becoming increasingly important. According to “The Net Neutrality Debate in 2 Minutes or Less”, the target of the net neutrality policy is big internet service providers (ISPs). Now with the permission for ISPs to sell clients’ data, the public interest is sacrificed to gain business interest.

It first appeals like a win-win when ISP get paid from Netflix and consumers of Netflix can get a higher speed. But then the problems arise. Big firms can pay ISP to get faster speed, so the interests of small companies will be diminished. And this will potentially restrain innovations. First, big firms do not have to make technological innovations to deliver information with the minimum data flow, if they can just pay ISPs to have a higher speed. Second, small firms cannot compete with big firms with way faster speed, even if their innovations and new ideas can bring more convenience to the general public.

Also, the act against net neutrality hurts consumers’ interests – i.e. the public interests. According to Scientific American, broadband Internet service in the U.S. is even slower and more expensive than infrastructure-challenged countries, such as Portugal and Italy. Consumers are most likely to bear the burden of the fee that Netflix paid ISPs. And people who do not use Netflix paid the same amount as those who do but cannot get a er. As a result, ISPs gain more profits from the consumers.

If the net neutrality policy is canceled, then ISPs can block everything against them. They can block their rivals and the rivals of those who paid them. The general public has to pay the cost and face the potential loss of the freedom to speech. As the importance of net neutrality is stressed, we should do more to advocate for it. The public interest cannot be sacrificed for business interest.



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