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Network (Internet) Neutrality

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Introduction

Network neutrality (or more commonly, net neutrality) is a problem related to the internet that not enough people know about. Biases abound in this politically heated debate and although most people that know even a little on the argument have strong opinions, it is becoming more and more apparent that few people are informed about this issue at all.

To reiterate, network neutrality has great support on both sides. However, if this problem is not soon addressed, there could be major problems with how the public uses the internet.

Hypothesis

By looking at what is best for the public and for the internet as a whole, net neutrality laws should be put into place to preserve the characteristics of the internet that make it unique.

Definition of Net Neutrality

Simply put, net neutrality is a network design paradigm that argues for broadband network providers to be completely detached from what information is sent over their networks. In essence, it argues that no bit of information should be prioritized over another. This principle implies that an information network such as the internet is most efficient and useful to the public when it is less focused on a particular audience and instead attentive to multiple users.

To draw a simple example, take two content providers such as the Verizon website and the University of California website. If net neutrality were upheld, both entities would pay their monthly fees to the network provider and if all else equal, any bit of information from the Verizon website will make the same trek as one from say the UC Berkeley website. There would be no roadblocks or shortcuts any of the websites can take to make the end user desire their content more. However, witho...

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... market will only hurt consumers if there is no government intervention.

By allowing the telcos to tier the internet, consumers will be forced to pay multiple times for the same service. On top of that, tiering could result in telcos becoming an internet “gatekeeper” that could greatly influence what stays and goes on the internet.

Even still, the cases against net neutrality and for tiering are weak at best. Their arguments that content providers are receiving a “free lunch” are unsubstantiated and, in fact, the telcos are paid twice already. There should be no need for them to be paid a third time. Worse of all is their misleading view that the free market will even out any inequities of their plans when they should clearly know that their industry is anything but a free market.

If the internet is tiered, the greatest losses will be to the consumers.
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