Often debated with governments in many countries, but rarely discussed with the general public, net neutrality is, to this day, a very important part of Internet freedom. It was in 2018, that the topic received the most media coverage.
Net Neutrality has ended in the United States. In fact, this principle had already been seriously undermined since 2014. It was this event that actually led many, many Americans to become interested in log-free VPNs and their many applications.
A real foundation more than an ideology
Net neutrality is the principle that no discrimination regarding Internet data flows can be practiced. Internet service providers are obliged to treat all Internet user traffic equally. This is also known as network neutrality oropen Internet.
It is net neutrality that guarantees users free access to the sites of their choice without overcharging by ISPs. It ensures that ISPs cannot intentionally block, slow down or charge for specific online content. Without it, ISPs could prioritize certain types of online services or slow down or even block traffic to others.
A little clarification
Net neutrality is not the guarantee of Big Nonsense either. Indeed, this principle does not block all the ISP’s capacities to act when some sites are problematic.
The exclusion or banning of sites known to be dangerous for people’s safety or broadcasting inappropriate or illegal content is not part of Net Neutrality.
It should also be noted that Internet service providers do not have the power to influence a search result.
What’s the problem with net neutrality?
There are many advocates of Net Neutrality, including computer experts, activists, consumer associations, human rights organizations… All of them claim that Net Neutrality helps to ensure the free exchange of information and to promote and stimulate innovation for new online services. If this principle is so positive and brings so much added value to the Internet, why question it?
Opponents believe that the requirements of such a principle considerably increase the costs of maintaining an efficient telecommunications network, capable of handling ever increasing data flows.
Some operators in different countries have complained that traffic from YouTube and other Google-owned sites make up a very large part of their total flow. In order to reduce the costs of overloading and to ensure maintenance as well as development, Google sometimes pays compensation to operators whose network is overloaded.
This type of agreement is at the discretion of operators and large Internet content providers.
In fact, net neutrality has started to be severely questioned all over the world with the arrival and massive success of streaming platforms with the fear of seeing the arrival of partitioned Internet subscription rates for each type of use, social networks, videos, games, etc..
Net Neutrality is an essential element for the innovation dynamics of the Internet as we have always known it. However, one should not confuse Net Neutrality with the different Internet subscription options offered by operators.
Indeed, depending on the needs of users, different offers are available, speeds, integrated mobile package …. Some would say that this is a backdoor way to finance the infrastructure needed to satisfy the very large bandwidth consumers and thus to circumvent the principle of Net Neutrality.
In reality, as soon as the accessibility to the whole network is ensured in an equitable way and without any form of discrimination, protocol, IP, loading speed for some sites or even the promotion of private networks, the neutral founding principle of the Internet is respected.