With the introduction of broadband came new problems, such as network operators’ need to increase productivity while restricting broadband use in destructive and counterproductive ways. Network neutrality, also known as non-discrimination, is a concept that aims to direct the relationship between a network customer and the network operator. This short essay aims to emphasize the significance of upholding this theory.
Net Neutrality aims to prohibit broadband providers from damaging or limiting what a user wishes to do with their internet access while allowing the provider to control bandwidth and other arising plans. This principle realizes this by creating two levels of packet discrimination on a network, the “forbidden” and “permissible” grounds. The provider should not interfere with inter-network indicia, for example, IP address or the type of application. They can, however, restrict bandwidth (Wu, 2002). This in a way strikes a balance
There is evidence of providers restricting access to applications such as VPN’s, limiting the type of equipment a subscriber can attach to the network and creating bogus charges if one uses a certain application. A case in time is that of “foreign attachment” tariffs which lasted from the 1930’s to the 1970’s. In this period, customers were denied broadband usage if they used equipment other than that manufactured by Bell on the telephone network (Wu, 2002). It is clear that such a policy arrested market competitiveness and harmed consumer benefit.
Online gamers are a current example of intensive bandwidth users, something that some operators feel the need to restrict. In today’s world, the operator has all the tools to block game traffic such as blocking the IP address. This principle calls for the provider to limit their concerns to monitoring bandwidth. As such, there would be no need to curtail certain applications as this would distort the market. Rather, bandwidth can be priced higher and therefore represent a market choice for those who can afford but not come a choice resulting from a carrier’s policy.
In conclusion, net neutrality, a framework I support is one that enables customers to reach any application over the internet and have any type of home network while giving the operator the usage policing mandate. In this manner, both the provider and consumer derive the benefits that each is aiming for without feeling choked in any manner.
Wu, T. (2002). A Proposal for Network Neutrality.