The net neutrality theory calls for open and unrestricted internet connectivity for all. It allows users to openly express themselves on the Internet without intervention from organizations such as Internet service providers and government departments. It ensures that the Internet not only allows for free expression but also preserves the content of the speech conveyed through it. It allows Internet service providers all around the world to offer open networks to their customers. Furthermore, providers are not permitted to discriminate against or prohibit any content or services that access the open networks that they provide. The theory applies to internet content providers as well as websites (Bourreau et al. 30). They should accept all applications and contents equally without considering their sources. In other words, the principle of net neutrality requires that companies that connect people to the internet do not control what people writes or speak online. For example, communication providers should not decide for you as phone owner who to talk to and what you say using the phones. The phone can also be used to visit some platforms, sites, and downward materials online freely. The first countries to enact laws to ensure net neutrality were Netherlands and Chile. The debate has been there in the United States to ensure the same. Though it has been faced with some challenges such as in 2014 where federal appeals court nullified some essential provisions that were put in place in 2010 Federal Communication Commission, the law protects Americans to share data and speak online freely. The law established in February 2015 through new FCC rules on net neutrality requires no paid prioritization, no throttling, and no blocking of the Internet users. While the users of Internet have freedom of expression and others benefits brought by net neutrality, some cons are resulting from this principle.
The first advantage arising from the principle of net neutrality is the freedom of expression (Bauer & Guenter 1). Implementing some elements of net neutrality has led to a high number of blogs, news services, and websites where people gives their opinions on things and other people. Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are used by people to express their opinions freely without intervention by any organization. Individuals can express their feels in such platforms on issues to do with leadership for a country or an organization. These opinions could either be positive or negative but the most important thing; they educate the society on what is happening around them. For example, if a blogger writes about an area of his or her specialization, the readers of the post will be enlightened on the issues and can take an immediate action to control it. The blogs or the posts on websites can also be on current issues that affect the society as a whole and posting it may be a solution if the public is made aware. The government or other private organizations can also get people’s views on an issue through their comments on a post or what they write on various platforms. Without net neutrality in place, internet providers could block access to content or applications for their benefits. Like a company can prevent access to videos or site that exposes the malpractices going on in the enterprise. Net neutrality allows all to have a voice regardless of origin, color, race, gender, or nationality and it ensures that various voices are heard for a better world tomorrow.
Secondly, net neutrality promotes innovation and competition in the business world (Weisman 13). In the today’s globalized world, the competition for the market has risen beyond control. Only companies which are in a position of coming up with new ideas would have a share in the market. The new ideas can be learned online when everyone has the freedom of access to such materials without any restriction. Were it not for net neutrality, larger companies would have taken advantages to minimize operations of smaller companies. The big market players would also use their financial advantages to restricting what is visited by the small player (Guo et al. 1). But since the principle of net neutrality advocates for free access to any site, the small market players can get access to the available information about the market and use them to competitive advantages. Also, potential entrepreneurs can learn the trend through online videos and visit sites freely for business ideas. They can also post their business ideas and get comments that would help them improve on their ideas. Innovation becomes easier if people are allowed to visit various sites with business ideas and share their thought on business matters freely. Business transactions will also be faster if it is supported by a faster and protected Internet connection from Internet providers.
Besides, the consumer protection is possible through net neutrality. The larger companies can use their powers not only to marginalize other companies but also to hide some useful information about their products (Weisman 15). Blogs and internet post have the ability to educate consumers on their rights and expose malpractices that are done by companies to exploit them. It can also expose various prices charged by various companies on a certain good for decision making on purchasing.
Thirdly, with net neutrality, there is unfettered access. Net neutrality prevents the idea of internet providers changing the content of information sent by users to another. A free and protected internet connection provides everyone with the opportunity to stream videos online and visit platforms that would not be possible if there were some restrictions by the service providers. People can use banking services and send emails with sensitive contents without any worry if they are sure of protection by the law. If the internet provides changes the content of the information, there will be the possibility of a slow connection. Therefore, slow connections are reduced through net neutrality.
Net neutrality may promote pornography and objectionable content thrives. When there is no parent supervision, there is the possibility of some age-sensitive content like pornography being found in computers and phones of children. Children owning phones and laptops can use net neutrality fairness to watch online videos with pornographic content and, therefore, needs the intervention of either the internet service providers or the parents. If the internet service providers were allowed to block some services, the spread of pornographic movies and videos, that are currently facing the world, would have been minimized. The providers should also be authorized to check the content of information downloaded by individuals to control sharing of age-sensitive products. Unfortunately, this violets individual privacy according to net neutrality and should not happen. In other words, the principle of net neutrality limits the law from controlling illegal activities that are taking place online. Security agencies are some of the bodies that are affected. Being that the law does not allow blocking information shared by individuals online, it becomes difficult to manage issues to do with insecurity that is happening there. People can use blogs and internet platforms to share and communicate information that is security threat. Also, the mobile service providers cannot prevent their clients from sharing inciting information through phone calls and messages since they will go against the principle of net neutrality.
Net neutrality reduces cases of free internet access. When there is less oversight of internet service providers, there is less possibility of allowing users to access some sites freely. The companies providing internet services would have an easy time to allow users to access some sites like Facebook or even Wikipedia freely if they are allowed to monitor the activities going on in such platforms. But being that the principle of net neutrality does not allow them, they can become reluctant on providing such services (Nielsen 1).
In conclusion, net neutrality is a good concept since it brings fairness in the use of Internet. It champions for freedom of expression in the world. It promotes innovation and business competition for every market players. Besides, it promotes free internet access to people which is a key to enlightenment. But on the other hand, it promotes sharing of some age-sensitive items such as pornography. Security of States is also under danger if what is shared and posted on the internet websites are not monitored by various security agencies. Lastly, lack of oversight of online activities by internet providers makes them reluctant to provide users with free internet access to some sites. As much as the government is a concern by ensuring fairness through net neutrality, it should allow the internet service providers to have some control to websites visited by citizens to regulator some illegal activities in the states.
Bauer, Johannes M., and Guenter Knieps. “Innovational Complementarities and Network Neutrality.” The 43rd Research Conference on Communication, Information and Internet Policy Paper (2015).
Bourreau, Marc, Frago Kourandi, and Tommaso Valletti. “Net neutrality with competing internet platforms.” The Journal of Industrial Economics, vol. 63, no. 1 (2015), pp. 30-73.
Guo, Hong, et al. “Effects of Competition Among Internet Service Providers and Content Providers on the Net Neutrality Debate.” MISQ Archivist, 2015.
Nielsen, Martin. “Strategic Investment Dependence and Net Neutrality.” Discussion Papers on Business and Economics, University of Southern Denmark, vol. 11, 2015, pp. 1-4.
Weisman, Dennis L. “The Political Economy of Net Neutrality Regulation.” The Economists’ Voice, vol. 12, no.1 (2015), pp. 13-18.