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What is Net Neutrality?

All Network Traffic is Created Equal

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What is Net Neutrality?

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Opponents of net neutrality argue that broadband service providers have to be free to manage their networks so all customers receive adequate levels of service. They also argue that regulation of the internet will negatively influence innovation, which the internet thrives on, and impede free speech. Most importantly, they make the point that some level of restriction, or at least prioritization, is necessary to promote the best interest of consumers as a whole.

Net neutrality opponents would argue that bandwidth is a limited commodity. With all types of internet traffic passing over the network, wouldn't most people want to allow a doctor waiting to view a high resolution image CAT scan for a critical ER patient, priority over someone simply downloading a movie or a music file?

Net neutrality advocates don't argue about the need to prioritize traffic in the above example, they just argue that there should be some rules and regulations in place to decide how to go about the selection and prioritization of the internet traffic.

What is the possible industry cost of FCC regulation?

The FCC internet regulation debate goes beyond internet service providers (ISPs) restricting and prioritizing internet traffic. The FCC's ability to force broadband providers to publish real internet speeds, opening up networks to other providers, and even price regulation might fall under FCC purview in a regulated environment. Internet Speed Net neutrality opponents are fearful that allowing the FCC to impose seemingly innocuous rules albeit the best of intentions will backfire, as future administrations may expand the scope of their authority by imposing even stricter regulations. Broadband and telecommunication carriers, most of which advocate a no regulation stance, threaten a protracted court battle, which will force them to cut jobs, and hold back investments in their networks.

As the FCC works through the various issues to decide whether to reclassify internet service as a telecommunications service, others are examining the legal, social, and policy implications of this effort. Will federal regulations solve the issue of net neutrality, or is this something for the market to work out on its own?

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