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wesley837's avatar

What is net neutrality all about?

Asked by wesley837 (163points) July 17th, 2007

Can someone explain the issue of net neutrality. what exactly is being argued over and what is going to happen.

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6 Answers

xgunther's avatar

sounds like censorship to me

Perchik's avatar

My understanding is very basic, but here goes.

Simply put, net neutrality(NN) keeps the internet free. NN prevents service providers from changing the speed on certain webpages because of content. Imagine if Coke provided internet service. If the internet was not NN, they could slow down the data coming from Pepsi.Com, because it's competition. NN is all about preventing that kind of abuse. (IN the most basic sense)

bpeoples's avatar

@Perchik: Not that I disagree with Net Neutrality, but I felt someone should explain the opposite argument --

The idea behind dropping net neutrality is that certain kinds of service (streaming video and internet phone) are prone to latency problems -- a "busy" connection to a webpage may mean that it loads 100ms later, a "busy" connection on an IP phone call means the audio is jittery. So if you are using the internet for your phone, you pay the ISP another $5 a month to route your phone calls, specifically, faster through their network.

And, of course, why the above argument is pretty much a straw-man is that as soon as you drop net neutrality, Comcast slows down your connection to when you start shopping for dish service, or AT&T;'s Yahoo! DSL will try to charge you extra for using to search.

mirza's avatar

Network neutrality (equivalently "net neutrality", "internet neutrality" or "NN") is the guiding principle that preserves the free and open Internet. Put simply, Net Neutrality means no discrimination. Net Neutrality prevents Internet providers from speeding up or slowing down Web content based on its source, ownership or destination. Net Neutrality is the reason why the Internet has driven economic innovation, democratic participation, and free speech online. It protects the consumer's right to use any equipment, content, application or service on a non-discriminatory basis without interference from the network provider. With Net Neutrality, the network's only job is to move data %u2014 not choose which data to privilege with higher quality service.

Perchik's avatar

Exactly bp.

I've also heard the argument that if you are connecting to a P2P network to download stuff, the ISP would charge a little extra to route you through a different network, to prevent the websites from being slow.

From the companies' end it apepars that getting rid of net neutrality would be a great thing. They could provide faster service to the average web user, provide better service (and make more money) from the users using VOIP or P2P stuff, and slow down access to their competitors products/websites. [More devious: What prevents AT&T; from slowing down your internet access when you say "AT&T; service is horrible" on a noticeboard? ]

This is why, in my opinion, Net neutrality is in the hands of the people. If people don't rise up and say something, the big corporations will pressure Congress into the erosion of NN. I think it's almost an issue of monopolies and fair rights. Like McDonalds can't put roadblocks in front of Burger King to prevent people from going inside.

(Of course, I'm just a radical liberal, so my opinion has no valueat all >.< )

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