Net Neutrality: Dividing the Internet

The internet.  It is a place where you can roam from website to website as freely as you choose.  We can browse through social media sites, play games, searching through Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines.  However, what if that became restricted and we had to use what we were told?

Over the past few years, net neutrality has become a big issue among internet users.  For those of you who don’t quite understand what net neutrality is, here are the basic terms.  Net neutrality is basically our right to choose what we view on the internet.   If we want to use Google, we can use Google.  If we want to use Yahoo or Bing, go right ahead.  We choose the content we see, share and browse through and this is because of net neutrality.  However, lately big ISPs (Internet Service Providers) have been going with the flow of the world and have been getting greedy about what kind of an internet experience they provide for their users.  ISPs have been trying to become “gatekeepers” in the business of the internet and control certain aspects of what they provide to their consumers.  As videofreepress’s YouTube video “What is Net Neutrality?” describes, the internet is like a system of pipes.  These big ISPs are allowed to own the pipes, but not mess with the content inside them.  However, they want to create a “fast lane” for people who use their service and their partner’s.  Websites who want to be included in this fast lane to the consumer’s computers must pay a large fee in order to be a part of it.  Otherwise, connections to their websites would be incredibly slow or unable to connect at all.

The FCC has tried to regulate this by putting specific laws in place to try and keep the net neutral for everyone.  There are three specific rules that are in place: Transparency, No Blocking and No Unreasonable Discrimination.  However, according to New Media Rights article “The FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules: A Tale of Two Internets,” these rules aren’t exactly fixing the problem.  Instead they have created a divide in the once whole internet.  The new rules have divided internet users into two categories: DSL/Cable or Wireless (Mobile) Users.  Basically, it breaks down to those who use actual computers and those who access the web via their phones and other mobile devices.  The article states that the transparency rule is the only rule that doesn’t discriminate against its users and that is only because transparency guarantees that consumers will be informed of the ISPs qualities.  Other than that, both the no blocking and no unreasonable discrimination rule are thrown out the window when it comes to mobile/wireless users.  Mobile providers can not only block lawful application, services and content (but only on unlawful websites), but they can also can discriminate and treat certain content differently.  One of the most frequented discrimination factors comes from the “paid priority” service, where they increase and decrease speeds to certain content.

Our internet used to be a place where people could have choice and make their own decisions, now it is slowly being manipulated into what the big name companies want.  It is hard to tell what will happen with the web and how we’re going to regulate it for fair use.  All I know is that I don’t want to be forced to use what somebody else thinks is better for me.

So, I’ll leave everyone with a few questions to think about:

Do you think it’s fair that mobile users don’t always have the same quality or content as DSL/Cable users?

How do you think we can better regulate the laws of net neutrality or do you think it should be left alone?

Do you think ISP providers should be able to create these “fast lanes” for their partners and services?

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25 thoughts on “Net Neutrality: Dividing the Internet

  1. I think it’s ridiculous that ISPs can discriminate and block select content on the internet. I had no idea the rules were so different when it comes to mobile internet users. It should be the same as home users but perhaps the reason it is because it is still fairly new territory? If companies are getting to the point where they can choose all of the content we see online then we most certainly do have to better regulate the net neutrality laws. The rules should be simple: ISPs are prohibited from regulating the speed and or availability of any website. I think if we leave the laws how they are and don’t take action the big ISPs will continue to find ways to exploit the system and make money. I think the way they are currently doing this is by selling it as “fast lane” service which is premium. Trouble is not only do they neglect everything that is not their partner but they purposely make it slower and less accessible at the same time. They are not just simply offering a faster service to a select few. I think this is wrong because it only serves to make the ISPs more money when the laws are trying to prevent them from blocking and discriminating. In their defense we do live in a capitalistic society where the goal is to compete and make money which is a discussion for a different time.

  2. I think it’s a good thing that we can’t always access everything from our phones, some websites really drain the battery. However, the fact that there’s discrimination happening is just wrong. I think that we as people should have the option. If someone wanted to be able to access something from their phones they should be able to, they shouldn’t have to be on a computer.

    I think that we can help regulate the laws of net neutrality by stating our opinions, and letting the people who create those regulations what we think. If we don’t do anything then how can we expect these regulations to change?

    No, I don’t think that ISP providers should be able to create these “fast lanes” for their partners and services, because people are having to pay more money than they should be. It’s not right, it’s as if they are being taken advantage of especially because if people don’t take part in these “fast lanes” then their internet connection will be really slow.

  3. Have to agree with both of you so far about your stance on ISP’s trying to be gatekeepers. It is scary to me when you bring this up to think about where things are headed in terms of the amount of focus on greed rather than any kind of user service improvement.. They do not care about user inconvenience or improving the quality or using the unlimited possibilities in their hands with today’s technology. Instead it is wasted with corporate schemes to try and get the absolute most possible money. I hope things are done to try and stop restrictions. I do agree it is unfair that mobile is so much poorer in basically every possible way. It feels intentional how poor the mobile service runs and it really is on purpose to get you to upgrade and spend more money. It is a disgusting cycle and one I cannot only see getting uglier and more corrupt.

  4. Have to agree with both of you so far about your stance on ISP’s trying to be gatekeepers. It is scary to me when you bring this up to think about where things are headed in terms of the amount of focus on greed rather than any kind of user service improvement.. They do not care about user inconvenience or improving the quality or using the unlimited possibilities in their hands with today’s technology. Instead it is wasted with corporate schemes to try and get the absolute most possible money. I hope things are done to try and stop restrictions. I do agree it is unfair that mobile is so much poorer in basically every possible way. It feels intentional how poor the mobile service runs and it really is on purpose to get you to upgrade and spend more money. It is a disgusting cycle and one I can only see getting uglier and more corrupt.

  5. I don’t think it is fair that mobile users don’t always have the same quality or content as DSL/Cable users, but then again it is different when you have good quality that is always in one place compared to your phone where you constantly moving around from place to place. I think that to regulate these laws it would take a lot of work that the government dosent have time for right now. Yes ISP providers should be able to create these “fast lanes” for their partners and services.

  6. First off, I don’t think it’s fair for cell users to have a different service than desktop users. Realistically, the service should be the same regardless of the look and feel of it all. Cell providers feel like they get away with whatever they want in my opinion, and I’m not really a fan of that at all. Laws can and should be passed in the area of net neutrality. If laws aren’t passed, the consumer /citizen will suffer in the end. Only big business will benefit. I think creating a “fast lane” is in reality creating slow lanes for everything else. I don’t think this is fair, and consumers should only support companies that refrain from this.

  7. To address the first question, I believe that information about capabilities and limits of quality or content should be accessible in an honest upfront manner. I would not like the fact that I had less access on a mobile device, but if I was forewarned I would still believe that it was fair.

    I think that laws to protect net neutrality should be put in place. Extortion by removing a previously established right (namely, access to the entire web) is enabled because there is no specific law for that right. Without net neutrality, the internet begins to become divided. This would no doubt cause an outrage of unfavorable reactions.

    If ISP’s wanted to aid partners’ or supporters’ websites, by all means let them. However, this must be done by increasing quality, speed, or accessibility of the website or application, without the degradation of any other. There is nothing wrong with increasing quality of a certain service if that service is paying y more to the ISP’s. There is something wrong in punishing other services for not doing so though.

  8. Do you think it’s fair that mobile users don’t always have the same quality or content as DSL/Cable users? I am not really sure how I feel about this. I guess you can say its unfair, but at the same time I believe that DSL/Cable and desktops are more efficent than mobile phones. But then again, since my mobile phone is limited to what I can do on it, I guess if they changed that and I had more access to things on my phone, I might feel differently about the mobile devices. I dont know if there is anything we can do to regulate. That all depends on the provider service. The FCC needs to make sure providers are doing their job. No, it isnt fair to create a fast lane.

  9. I think there is a difference between users of DSL/Cable and mobile users. But in terms of the quality of content I assume that it is kind of the same. I have an IPhone and you can do almost anything on it then you can do on my house computer. While I think some of the restrictions are based on the fact that the computing powers of mobile devices are lesser than that of a computer. We also have to remember that we get what we pay for. If we take this into consideration then technically they do have the right to be able to have “fast lanes”.

  10. I would have to say this whole issue is kind of ridiculous. I think these companies are trying to do all they can to control us all and try and get our money. The whole “paid priority” thing is dumb. If fast internet access is available, why the need to deprive people of it. I would assume it was the internet itself, not the site. I think it is sort of expected for the phone internet quality to not be as well. I mean if they can improve the speed, it’s really dumb that these companies don’t. I do think that laws can be put in order to keep the net neutrality. The “fast lanes” are also crazy. It’s just not fair! This whole thing seems to be an unnecessary issue.

    • I completely agree. It’s all just another way for these companies to take our money. There should be no paid priority or fast lane service, just good, simple internet that is the same for everyone.

  11. I do not think it is fair that mobile users do not get the same amount of access to speed and content of the internet. Most use the internet on a mobile device even if they have access to their own land connections. I see this as a form of censorship.

    Neutrality can be better regulated if regulation is left to a minimum. There should be more consumer choices for internet providers and much better speeds. More companies could do this if it were not always about profits for the larger companies.

    Creating fast lanes is just another way for companies to make more money when they could just provide the fast service easily when consumers will pay for it no matter what.

    • Good point about the fact that a lot of people still use their phones or mobile devices even when they have land lines and I agree that it can be seen as a form of censorship. Why should it be fair that one person can access a site on their computer, but the person next to them cannot on their phone. I’m still not sure why mobile companies feel the need to do this.

  12. I am completely up-in-arms over this issue. I fervently believe there should be strict government regulations for companies trying to limit the use of websites or any online service. They should be subject to constant scrutiny and subjected to expensive fines when they engage in hanky panky. But, I also don’t live in a fantasy world and I know NBC/Comcast has very powerful and influential lobbyists in Washington and there isn’t much we can do about their unscrupulous doings.

  13. I think that mobile users and DSL/cable users both should be able to access the same content from the internet, however, the quality will always be different. On a mobile phone, it can be slower and not display content correctly. But on a computer, access can be much faster and easier. One way to regulate the laws of net neutrality is to protest, maybe, but how far would that get us? I really don’t think there can be anything done unless we all ban from using a certain ISP. As for the ISPs, from their perspective they should have the right to sponsor certain partners and services because its apart of their business. Whatever way they can make more money, they will use that way. However, from the people who are paying the ISP companies, it is not fair to take the money that they are paying and say, for example, that they can only use a certain search engine.

  14. I think it’s hard for mobile users to have the same experience on the web as PC users; it’s just more difficult for phones to handle what a computer can do. I’m not a fan of internet service providers slowing down access to certain websites, it is just completely unfair. I think ISPs are already taking advantage of their customers in terms of the amount of data offered and their prices, so this just makes me think even less of them. As far as laws go, I think everyone should have access to any website they want to browse, with no extra slowing down just because someone paid for it. Any law that forbids this is a good one in my book.

  15. I believe that we can and need better regulate the laws of net neutrality. Large, for profit, companies will always seek ways to increase profits and will attempt to do so anyway possible. It would be one thing if they just created a “fast lane” for their own users, but left the original connections as is. But of course odds are they will purposely slow down the original lane, if not stop it all together, in favor of the “fast lane. ” There is nothing wrong with companies making money, however, in this fast pace technological ever-evolving world, we must address and understand all the consequences and need to set up some boundaries and regulations.

  16. I was oblivious to this issue and find it unfair that computer users have different quality verses mobile users. My primary use of Internet is actually my mobile device because I am constantly on the go and refuse to carry around a laptop. I feel some regulation could stop this madness. Any one should be able to access the information they are seeking rather it be by mobile device or computer

    • I think you’re right. Why is it fair for them to block sites that they think need to be blocked? It’s not their decision. Plus, what if you really needed to access a certain site and your phone wouldn’t let you? If I were in that situation, I would probably think about switching carriers, which would be nothing but a loss to them.

  17. Is this a question of fairness or a question of bandwidth. Many companies have invested to create discrete experiences for tablets/computers and mobile devices. These unique experiences are tailored to screen size and speed/bandwidth. Experiences are served or delivered to visitors based on the device type they are connecting with thus providing them with a specific and tailored experience. Often times users don’t know how to connect to a big browser experience on their mobile device or a mobile experience on their computer. To be fair it isn’t very easy. I’m wondering, is this scenario that is designed to provide the best possible experience being confused with net neutrality? If so, perhaps the “issue” isn’t a big as it seams?

  18. The new rules about trying to block or prevent you from accessing and downloading contents over the internet are probably related to a business problem; I think these big companies are trying to keep their audience and their businesses by inconveniencing you when downloading the competitor’s content. Until today, I didn’t see any problems with how the internet performs, but your article made me think twice about any time that I’ve experienced slow connections and the proposed restrictions for the internet. The internet can be described as a sanctuary where you have the freedom to do whatever.

    From your first question: I don’t think it is fair for mobile device or wifi consumers to pay for different levels of access to content versus the dsl providers because the service is already paid for and there should be no difference. For example, I pay a flat monthly rate for Netflix and can access it via my wifi at home and my mobile phone. However, the quality is poorer over my mobile phone when compared to my home wifi system. This isn’t fair.

    From your second question: That rule should be left alone; the consumer should be able to make the ultimate decision on what access they have to the network and how they experience that access.

    From your third question: I don’t think we should pay for fast lane access as proposed by the ISP companies because we should pay one flat rate for access to free information.

  19. I’m shocked to find out that bit about mobile web, and it would explain a lot if it was actually happening to me. That being said, I do not think it’s fair to make mobile slower to some sites. Most of the time, if I’m looking for something on the web via phone, I want it fast. I don’t want to drain my battery and I’m probably rushing to find something. Mobile web is expensive, why is my access hindered? What more can they want, it already costs a fortune. As for the regulations, the best advice I have is to let it be. The phony ISPs will become clear. Those who give full access will become clear and advertise as such.

  20. Net Neutrality is an interesting idea. On one hand every site should be treated fairly as long as they are legal, but on the other providing internet is still a business. Creating a fast lane to your partner is a bit of a grey area. Is it so bad that you will travel to the sites your ISP wants you to travel to faster? I feel like you wouldn’t be going there if you were not interested, so what is that harm in getting there faster. Now if they rerouted you to that site when you were searching for a competitor that would be a little worse. What does agitate me is the difference between the rights of a Hard Line user and a wireless user. Currently cellular providers have the right to throttle back your speed after you exceed a certain amount of data. I feel the law needs to be reformed to provide more rights to wireless users, they are the future.

  21. I do see a problem with ISP’s regulating the speed and access to certain websites based on seniority. To say that it’s fair for service providers would be giving them a stepping stone to completely alter and restrict the customer’s experience. If governments are able to see the concern regarding this issue I’m sure better laws could be drafted to protect users and set restrictions on ISPs. In the long run, these “fast lanes” you mentioned will lead to a unbalanced internet which ultimately takes away from the entire experience of connecting and sharing information freely.

  22. ISPs should not be regulating what we see and don’t see online. It gives them way too much power and way too much discretion for manipulation. The internet was intended to be free from restrictions. Now sure, there are areas in which there is a need for regulation (like child pornography, harassment, etc). I just don’t like the idea of any organization or group having that much power over what we see and do online.

    I guess there is an argument that people willingly pay for this service and need to deal with it’s consequences. On the same note, if every ISP company is doing this, what real choice do we have in the matter?

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