The Pros and Cons of a Society with Net Neutrality

By Joshua Talamayan,
Technology & Innovation Writer

In recent times, net neutrality goes under fire under the hands of Ajit Pai, the newly commissioned chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Pai has made it clear that he does not comply with the rulings of net neutrality. ”

Sources from both sides of the net neutrality debate have made note that it is only a matter of time before Pai takes initiative to undo net neutrality rulings.

Net neutrality rules follow that internet service providers shall provide Internet data equally. Therefore, internet providers cannot unreasonably discriminate against certain internet sites or services. Thus, further ruling denotes that broadband providers may not block, regulate, or prioritize fee access to any particular sites and services. To avoid any problems that may distort the rulings of net neutrality, providers must also release information on how network management is ran within business.

To go over the technicalities of net neutrality, one must know the principals of net neutrality. Specifically, how they affect companies of any size, the customers of such companies, and internet providers.

In general, large tech companies, such as Google, Facebook, Netflix, and Apple follow net neutrality rulings and thrive within its environment. Such companies do not have to deal with complications such as whether or not they can reach their customers over the internet or if broadband providers will slow down access to their sites, services, and applications.

Furthermore, net neutrality follows the rights of free speech and promotes innovation, since it allows smaller companies to provide innovative ideas without having to make premium payments to broadband services. Which brings a further point that net neutrality rulings protect bigger companies from having an advantage over smaller companies via premium payment, since bigger companies can handle such fees while smaller companies would not be able to.

If there were no net neutrality protection, large companies will have to pay broadband providers. Meaning that consumers might have to pay higher costs to compensate for the broadband provider fee. Which potentially causes smaller companies to lose out by being unable to pay such premium fees to keep up with large companies.

Another issue that net neutrality devises is the fact that large sites and applications such as Facebook and Netflix consume copious amounts of data. Although services such as Facebook and Netflix consume large amounts of data, other services such as BitTorrent, a service that allows users to download illegal content, also consume large amounts of data. Therefore, there is a fine line between whether or not internet service providers should be monitoring such websites to ensure fairness amongst users when searching for content.

Net neutrality’s nature allows for an individual person to have as much speed and data as a government agency. In times of emergency, it may be more beneficial for government agencies to have access to faster speeds and higher amounts of data, while an individual may not need as much speed and data.

The federal appeal court panel upheld the net neutrality rulings in a case whether or not the net neutrality rulings should stay. However, the group that opposed the net neutrality rulings have been attempting to take action to appeal for the court to rehear the case. If the federal appeal court refuses to rehear the case, further action will occur, appealing the case to the Supreme Court.

Overall, net neutrality rulings currently keep a balance in the system, keeping larger companies to continue striving while allowing smaller companies to stay afloat. Yet, net neutrality does not take into account sites and services that take up copious amounts of data, and even worse, those that take large amounts of data to run illegally.

The FCC continues to try to change the rulings of net neutrality. However, internet users who are in support of the net neutrality ruling have squandered the attempts of the FCC to attempt to remove the rulings of net neutrality. Currently, supporters of the net neutrality ruling hope that large companies such as Google, Facebook, Netflix, and Apple are willing to support the backing of net neutrality.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, April 4th, 2017 print edition.

Contact Joshua at
joshua.talamayan@student.shu.edu

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