Internet

Design for Digital Media Environments – Net Neutrality

In one our lectures this week we looked into Net Neutrality. As this tackles more of the theory side to this unit we have been set the task to produce a post involving the in and outs on Net Neutrality. In this post I will look at the meaning of Net Neutrality, What would our digital media environment would look like without Net Neutrality and who is for Net Neutrality and why and who is against it and why?

What is Net Neutrality ?

As best put by savetheinternet.com, “Net Neutrality means an Internet that enables and protects free speech. It means that Internet service providers should provide us with open networks — and should not block or discriminate against any applications or content that ride over those networks. Just as your phone company shouldn’t decide who you can call and what you say on that call, your ISP shouldn’t be concerned with the content you view or post online”.

Net Neutrality

The image above portrays a good example of what our digital media environment would look like with and without Net Neutrality. On the left hand side we have the internet as it is today, an open internet if you will. This enables users to access and download everything and at any time they like. On the right is the view of how the ISP’s would like the internet to be. This would be an internet of restrictions, with blocked content and even extra charges being put on certain content. As savetheinternet.com puts it, “cable and phone companies could carve the Internet into fast and slow lanes. An ISP could slow down its competitors’ content or block political opinions it disagreed with. ISPs could charge extra fees to the few content companies that could afford to pay for preferential treatment — relegating everyone else to a slower tier of service”.

A very interesting website to look at is http://www.theopeninter.net. This parallax scrolling website gives a great demonstration between the Internet to-day and what ISP wants.

As I’ve shown through this post there are two sides to Net Neutrality and different people and organisations that are fighting for and against it. The big names trying to save Net Neutrality are website giants such as Amazon, eBay, Intel, Microsoft, Facebook and Yahoo. If they were to lose this battle the  service to their websites will be far slower to all users or maybe even having to pay to access their content. The group pushing against Net Neutrality are the big powerful businesses such as AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon. These money sucking companies wish to tax content providers to ensure the fastest delivery of their own content. If given this power they will then be able to slow down contenders services, meaning the Internet’s futures is very uncertain. The reason these companies wish to gut Net Neutrality is simply power and money. The world is connected by the Internet and phone service meaning their power would be endless. Imagine if users had to pay for Facebook and Twitter, the revenue would be mind-boggling.

Only a couple of months ago new rules on how the internet will be governed have been put in place when Three commissioners voted in favour and two against.

The main changes for broadband providers are as follows:

  • Broadband access is being reclassified as a telecommunications service, meaning it will be subject to much heavier regulation
  • Broadband providers cannot block or speed up connections for a fee
  • Internet providers cannot strike deals with content firms, known as paid prioritisation, for smoother delivery of traffic to consumers
  • Interconnection deals, where content companies pay broadband providers to connect to their networks, will also be regulated
  • Firms which feel that unjust fees have been levied can complain to the FCC. Each one will be dealt with on a case by case basis
  • All of the rules will also apply to mobile providers as well as fixed line providers
  • The FCC won’t apply some sections of the new rules, including price controls

References

Press, Free. ‘Net Neutrality: What You Need To Know Now’. Free Press. N.p., 2015. Web.  Available from: http://www.savetheinternet.com/net-neutrality-what-you-need-know-now. 27 Mar. 2015.

Press, Free. ‘Frequently Asked Questions’. Free Press. N.p., 2015. Web. Available from: http://www.savetheinternet.com/frequently-asked-questions. 27 Mar. 2015.

Safe Internet,. ‘Safe Internet’. N.p., 2015. Web. Available from: http://www.safeinternet.org/internet-equality/net-neutrality/. 27 Mar. 2015.

Wakefield, Jane. ‘Net Neutrality Rules Passed By US Regulator’. BBC News. N.p., 2015. Web. Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-31638528 27 Mar. 2015.