The internet is an important tool for our generation, changing the way we do most things in our daily lives. The web has opened doors human beings never thought possible. It has also broken down walls that seemed indestructible, and so far it has given us the best example of a free market and an open communications tool.
It’s a powerful service that we currently take for granted, but this could all change in a heart beat. Net neutrality is a huge topic within the tech community lately. As the FCC struggles to find a balance between law enforcement and freedom in the web, everyone is speaking up about how to go about finding that equilibrium.
All journalists and related personalities have spoken up, but today we have a very special person siding with a completely free and open internet. In fact, Obama is asking the FCC to label internet as a utility, regulating it under Title II. You have probably heard all about it in today’s news, but do you understand what this all means? Let’s break it all down.
You choose what websites you view, not the providers
Every company has some sort of agenda, whether it be political, spiritual or completely business-oriented. Wouldn’t it be inconvenient if they could block and allow any sites they wanted?
If regulated as a utility, service providers would simply have to push data to and from your computers without discrimination. So far as these websites are legal, of course.
No slowing down websites and services based on providers’ preferences
Likewise, service providers wouldn’t be able to discriminate between separate websites. Speed and data would just be provided without a single bias. This part brings forth some pretty important changes to today’s world.
Certain USA internet providers have been slowing down Netflix streams, for example. As video streaming becomes more popular, it is being realized that this luxury can become a huge burden on data. Data hogs like Netflix can conglomerate traffic in the internet, therefore affecting a lot of users’ experiences.
With a completely free and open internet, Netflix would finally get what it wants and providers would need to stop discriminating the popular service.
Providers also wouldn’t speed up websites or services
The internet has become a huge source of income for many companies. It’s a money tree that I believe we haven’t exactly seen grow to its fullest capacity, and providers could take advantage of this.
In a completely net-neutral world, providers would also be stopped from accepting money in return of speeding up certain pages or services. It’s all part of the internet traffic and should be treated as such.
Transparency between consumers and ISPs
The president would also like to see more transparency between Internet Service Providers (ISP) and the consumer. This would allow for a much more fair and open system for both sides of the equation.
What is to take place in the internet’s future?
We must keep in mind President Obama’s announcement is not exactly a request; it’s more of a comment. Obama can’t really decide or get involved in what happens at the FCC, as it runs as a completely separate entity.
As a side note, Obama has also included mobile internet in this suggestion. This happens to be a unique situation, as mobile operators tend to have more crowded towers. Ultimately, it’s all internet, though. The internet is too important for the community, we need to protect it in every way.
The FCC is welcoming Obama’s opinion and taking it into consideration, but they seek to reach a more “hybrid” approach to this matter. A fair balance would make sense, but as geeks we would definitely like the internet to stay true to its original nature – unbiased and free. What kinds of results would you like to see from the FCC?