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?