Why is everyone desperate to ensure net neutrality?
According to Save The Internet, net neutrality “preserves our right to freely communicate online.” Without net neutrality, service providers would be able to decide who is heard and who isn’t, which could change the internet as we know it. Service providers like Telstra or Optus would be able to slow or block websites or applications that competed against their offerings/agendas.
The good news for us in Australia is that NBN Co. acknowledges that neutrality is a big deal – stating that:
“All internet traffic should be treated equally by service providers and that there should not be any ‘fast lanes’ that give preferential treatment to paid content.”
At this point, you’re probably thinking that net neutrality is really important, who could possibly support abolishing it? To that, we answer, the service providers of course!
Service providers have had an increased amount of pressure put upon them since our media consumption habits have shifted from traditional broadcast videos to streaming services (e.g. Netflix), and argue that they should be able to compensate themselves for that increase in demand.
For example, if you were to spend an hour on a website or emailing you would use 0.1GB BUT if you were to spend an hour on Netflix you would be using 7-10GB. This is compounded by the fact that we use multiple screens as once and the sheer amount of time we spend with our devices. This pressure falls directly upon our service providers as they rush to accommodate our ever-growing needs.
The services providers continue their argument, saying that net neutrality should not exist as they should be free to control their networks as they (the owners) wish.
Both the US and much of Europe have brought net neutrality to the forefront of public discussion, and as the NBN is rolled out and monopolises our networks, it is time we do the same.