We daily hear news about net Neutrality. Then we find many campaigns running internet like ‘Save the net’ and people are filing online petitions. Numerous TV debates over different channels, arguing over the regulations to protect the internet. So the logical question is what the big threat for the internet is. Why net neutrality suddenly became such a big issue?
Let’s consider a situation. Suppose you are trying to open a website which is not so popular, but you find some valuable contents there to read. The problem here is that the website is not loading properly. Other hand, there is another website which is very popular and when you try to access that website it works fine, I mean it loads quickly.
Suddenly you got confused as you are accessing both websites at the same bandwidth. You have not changed internet connections, then why one website is working fine, but other is taking too much time to load. This is happening because the website which is loading properly has paid some amount to a service provider for a favor and service provider is provding that website a special bandwidth allotted.
Other hand, second website is not getting the special bandwidth and that’s why it is not loading properly. In simple term, here you pay money to service provider and get the special favour.
Again, think about the situation where giant website likes Youtube, Facebook, Google will pay to service provider and they will get the special bandwidth allotted for them, but other websites which are comparatively small won’t be able to play them and don’t get the favour from the service providers. So what about these comparatively small websites? How will they earn money if they won’t load properly?
If users will face issues in using them, then they will stop using them and finally the business of small companies will be ruined. The other hand, the websites which are paying some extra to service providers for favors will generate skyrocket revenue. This will be a very unfavorable situation and we have to deal with it because we have to save the internet for the impartial use. And here the principle of Net Neutrality applies.
So what is the Net Neutrality or Open Internet or Network Neutrality?
If you have a phone you can use it the way you wish to. Phone company won’t instruct whom you should make calls or not. The very same principle applies here too on Net Neutrality. The service provider won’t dictate which website users should browse or which they should not. It means that Internet service providers should provide users with open networks and it won’t discriminate against anyone by providing special bandwidth and charging differently.
What is Airtel Zero?
A facility provided by Airtel. Here all the websites enlisted will be accessed free. Companies enlisted here will pay for internet charges rather than consumer who are using them. Seems good, but it is a clear violation of net neutrality and of course it is unfair. How? Let’s find out.
It will provide big companies to afford internet charges on behalf of consumers and consumer will love to use this service but it will kill many small businesses. As they are not enlisted on the website and they don’t have enough money to pay.
Benefits of Net Neutrality
Net neutrality means the net is of the people, for the people and by the people, it means democratization of internet uses. Here people have the freedom to view, download or access whatever they wish without any discrimination.
It will promote innovation
Of course it will promote innovation. It will help startups to grow equally in this tough competitive environment. If Net Neutrality won’t be applied, then big companies will pay the service providers and they will get special favours. In this case new start-up firms would not sustain for such a long time.
It will provide no restrictions
Of course, it will provide no restrictions on what a person should access on the internet. Also there will be no restriction on downloading, file sharing, video uploading, chatting. You can do whatever you wish to do. Also, there will not be restriction on how much data you should upload or download. Here a service provider will only charge for the data that you upload/download instead of being able to charge extra for where you upload/download that data.
It will protect freedom of speech
Of course; it will provide equal bandwidth and access to all websites. In the absence of Net neutrality, big news websites will pay to service provider and they will get special bandwidth and other news network will get poor bandwidth with slow access. And you won’t be able to get the fair news from various sources the way you wish to.
Now let’s look at the disadvantages of Net Neutrality
Injustice to Telecom companies
Of course, Net Neutrality is great, but it does Injustice to many service providers. Usually many telecom companies put billions of dollars to create infrastructure for telecommunication. Now many free apps are allowing voice and video calls which are drastically lowering their revenue generation and these companies are making huge losses. It will obviously slow down the investment in telecom sector as well as innovation too.
Prevent illegal use
As bandwidth for a service provider is a limited commodity so it requires a regulation to prevent illegal use. For example, suppose, someone is accessing a hospital website and he needs the emergency information about any patient, then this access should prioritize over someone playing a game on another website or watching pron. So some level of prioritization or restriction is essential to support the best interest of consumers.
Finally, we must say the Internet is growing rapidly. This exponential growth is happening just because of the freedoms and protections that net neutrality offers. Else companies like Facebook or Google would have not existed today. There are countless websites today, which will be the big thing of tomorrow if it gets the equal competitive advantages.