Net Neutrality

For this blog I was asked to think about Net Neutrality and how it might impact media consumers’ access to technology, information, and ideas.

Let’s start with the basics – net neutrality.

“Net neutrality is the idea that internet service providers (ISPs) should treat all data that travels over their networks fairly, without improper discrimination in favor of particular apps, sites or services.”

According to TechTarget’s analysis of net neutrality, they state that “net neutrality supporters believe that the internet should remain free, open and nondiscriminatory and that this is essential for a democratic exchange of ideas and knowledge, ethical business practices, fair competition and ongoing innovation.”

So, it’s mainly an idea surrounding fairness. And I agree, participation in a society is a global human right.

There shouldn’t be any limitations to “how, when, where, and how often people have access to the tools, technology, and digital skills necessary to thrive.”

Networks shouldn’t discriminate against the content that passes through them. Without net neutrality, ISP’s could prevent a user’s freedom to access ideas and services. This limits their access to participate in the culture around them and they can be fed specific information rather than be exposed to all information and ideas without censorship – a key player in media literacy.

On the other hand, I believe that there is a negative impact that net neutrality can have on consumers – it could definitely be costly, for everyone. If a streaming service, for example, were going to pay more money to an internet service provider in order to get faster delivery of its streaming services, then they could try to get more money out of the pockets of the consumers, like increasing the subscription fee, in order to make up the difference.

Although I believe that the general internet has a long way to go when it comes to fairness and equality, net neutrality is good for people and their democracies, because it ensures we aren’t being limited access to the information and tools that we have a basic right to.

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