150428 Neutrality

This article discusses a recent decision made by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC has approved a “network neutrality” plan. This plan defines Internet as a public utility as opposed to a commodity. The article mentions that plan prevents attempts at controlling the Internet, such as “paid prioritization” or other sorts of “slowdown.” Certain companies have attempted to control the Internet by using this methods on their customers.

When accessing the Internet, you send a request through your Internet connection (Ethernet or Wi-Fi). This request, along with the requests of many other users, gets sent to a router which routes data to and from your computer. Simply put, the router sends your request out, and receives the website data back. It then sends the website data to your computer, and you see the website load up. There are limits on how much a router can do though, so requests get queued up, and you have to wait your turn to get your request handled. Usually, queues aren’t too congested, but there are times when many requests are all getting handled at the same time. The longer the queue, the longer your site takes to load.

“Paid prioritization” is basically a commodity that a company would offer you. If you pay them more, they’ll agree to push you to the front of the queue whenever you make a request. It’s important to realize that this is different from a company offering you increased Internet speeds. If you purchase a more expensive Internet package, you will get faster Internet speed (usually). However, this will have little to no impact on other users. “Paid prioritization” on the other hand, has the potential to greatly impact other users. If your request is getting put at the front of the queue, everyone else will have to get pushed back. During the aforementioned congestion times the effects can become dramatic, especially on people who refuse to pay more just to use the Internet that they’re already paying for.

The companies who attempt to treat the Internet itself as a commodity as opposed to a utility are IMT looters. Users pay for Internet, and these companies want to take advantage of these payers to gain even more money. If there were no Net Neutrality, many people would be forced to buy into paid prioritization. In the end, those who pay for prioritization will have normal Internet speeds like we have now, since so many people need to have fast Internet for their jobs. If everyone has prioritized Internet, no one will gain any benefit, other than the looters. Those who are poorer will simply be punished with even longer load times, all because they can’t afford to pay for something twice instead of once. Companies against Net Neutrality want to control the users by placing more laws over the Internet and by requiring money to bypass the restrictions instituted by the company itself.



Image: Flickr

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