The Internet is by far the most fascinating invention ever to me. Its ability to contain access to the infinite knowledge of nearly everything in digital format is beyond my comprehension. Seeing technology grow through my years has kept me heavily involved with my inner geek. I stay on top of the news, especially technology news, and over the past few years a topic that has repeatedly caught my eye is the complicated topic of Net Neutrality.
I began my research on Net Neutrality by first figuring out where the term originated from and what the term actually means. On February 3, 2003 Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia Law School, presented his paper on “Network Neutrality, Broadband Discrimination,” at the Silicon Flatirons conference in Boulder, Colo. Wu’s paper is believed to be the first use of the term. Tim Wu defines Net Neutrality as:
Network neutrality is best defined as a network design principle. The idea is that a maximally useful public information network aspires to treat all content, sites, and platforms equally. This allows the network to carry every form of information and support every kind of application. The principle suggests that information networks are often more valuable when they are less specialized – when they are a platform for multiple uses, present and future. (Wu)
Essentially what Professor Wu is trying to explain is that "Network Neutrality" is a battle over how much control internet services providers (ISPs) should have in deciding whether to pick and choose favorites among different websites and online applications. The battle lines are drawn over whether ISPs should have the right to exact direct control over the content and data flowing across their networks. For example, should Comcast be allowed to make Google pay extra money to guarantee that when you load an NBC.com video, it will download faster than, say, CBS.com video? Or should Comcast be able to decide that YouTube.com is taking up too many resources server side, such as using too much bandwidth on its network and in turn deliver the content to the consumer at a much lower rate of download speed, or completely block you from viewing the content entirely?
Net Neutrality supporters believe that the internet should treat all information with equality. If those ISP’s were to favor particular content, sites, or applications over others for whatever reason the ISP’s feel like would ultimately take control from the consumers and force them into accessing the content which the dictating ISPs allow. Just as telephone companies can’t choose who you call, Internet services providers shouldn’t be allowed to choose what you view.
Opponents of Net Neutrality argue that because service providers are in a competitive industry, they have plenty of reasons to provide the best service possible, and that the government should let market forces dictate the results of network regulation. Currently the U.S. Government is examining Net Neutrality and its...