net neutrality

(redirected from Internet neutrality)

net neutrality,

the principle or requirement that Internet service providers (ISPs) allow equal access to all Internet content. The issue of insuring net neutrality has become of greater concern as Internet content is increasingly provided by independent entertainment and information services that compete with the television channels and other services offered by ISPs that also provide the high-speed access required to view such Internet content generally. Legal protections to ensure net neutrality typically involve the prohibition of the discriminatory blocking or slowing of access to websites or services offered by content providers that compete with an ISP and the prohibition as well of permitting websites or services faster access to an ISP's subscribers in return for payment by the content provider to the ISP. In 2015 the Federal Communications Commision (FCC) initiated stronger oversight over high-speed Internet delivery, regulating the broadband Internet access provided by ISPs as a public utility in order to ensure the legality of the net neutrality rules it adopted. A change in commissioner membership at the FCC, however, led in 2017 to the reversal of the 2015 rules, effective in 2018. Critics of regulations designed to ensure net neutrality have argued that such regulation discourages innovation, and that competition will ensure equal access, while supporters have noted that most subscribers have access to only one broadband provider who does not have an incentive to provide equal access to competing content, and have argued that limitations on equal access to content providers could discourage the development of independent Internet services and reduce competition among content providers.

net neutrality

(NETwork neutrality) A uniform playing field for Internet transport. Net neutrality is the absence of restrictions placed on the transmission of content by the major ISPs that provide service to millions of homes and offices. It means all packets are delivered on a first-come, first-served basis regardless from where they originated. Net neutrality became an issue as ISPs began to carry more movie streaming and voice traffic from competitors that delivered the same services they offered.

A Very Contentious Topic
Since its inception, the Internet has leveled the playing field for all participants. However, major ISPs such as Verizon, AT&T and Comcast have lobbied the FCC to be able to charge a website based on traffic. Although it might seem reasonable to charge sites that disseminate huge amounts of content, Internet users already pay ISPs for access. In addition, proponents warn about the implications down the road if net neutrality were abandoned. For example, owners of all websites might be forced to pay extra fees to prevent their content from bogging down in a low-priority delivery queue.

The July 2010 issue of "The Hightower Lowdown" said: "Forget the technology, net neutrality is about democracy itself-- the latest battleground in our nation's historic struggle for freedom of speech, a free press, and the free flow of information that We the People must have if, in fact, we are to be self-governing."

The Rulings
In 2010, the Open Internet Order of the FCC ruled that carriers cannot block or interfere with traffic because it conflicts with their financial goals. However, in 2014, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the order, stating that the FCC did not prove it had the legal authority to enforce such rules. Later in 2014, the FCC proposed allowing ISPs to create pay-to-play fast lanes; however, that was abandoned after a huge public outcry.

In February 2015, the FCC voted to regulate Internet service as a public utility. Based on certain provisions in Title II of the Communications Act, the new rules treat both wired and wireless Internet connections as a telecom service rather than an information service. No sooner was the ink dry that members of Congress who favor the ISPs' position began to propose legislation to counter the new ruling. Stay tuned! For more information, visit See dumb network and Freedom to Connect.
References in periodicals archive ?
In this context, over-the-top services and Internet neutrality are becoming increasingly relevant and will be vital to the business plans of telecommunication service providers in Brazil.
Facebook's, has also come beneath scrutiny for allegedly violating internet neutrality. Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar has also clearly stated that the federal government is in favour of internet neutrality as it ensures a non-discriminatory entry to the web for all residents of the nation.
Tom Wheeler, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, made a strong case last week when he announced that he would ask his fellow commissioners to adopt what's known as the "Title II" approach to Internet neutrality.
The 24 February vote was expected to determine whether the left or right would prevail in Parliament on internet neutrality and the leeway available to operators to encourage certain services on the net (see Europolitics 4816).
Will they agree with publishers and contribute to a regulated web or make a stand for Internet neutrality and free access?
public sphere; public access, programming, and participation; and Internet neutrality.
During a summit on internet neutrality, Communications Minister Ed Vaizey said it is important to ensure that the Internet remains an open, innovative and competitive place as the internet traffic is growing at a fast rate.
Finally, though Internet neutrality is to be maintained, the ultimate interest of the public should not always be seen as incompatible with price discrimination for information services.
The work follows the apComms inquiry into internet traffic to assess a range of issues from behavioural advertising and digital privacy to child abuse images and internet neutrality. The inquiry, announced in April this year, was charged with outlining the role government ought to play with regards to digital activity.
The proposals would uphold a pledge Barack Obama made during the presidential campaign to support Internet neutrality and would bar companies like Verizon, Comcast or ATT&T, from slowing or blocking certain services or content flowing through their vast networks.
With Internet neutrality fast becoming a hot topic, VideoAge decided to explore its pros and cons by speaking to IFTA's Prewitt and the MPAA's Michael O'Leary, senior vp for Federal Affairs.
Some of the key challenges include reforming H1-B visa allocations to maintain a strong U.S.-based IT workforce, monitoring the ongoing convergence of telephony, data, and video services, resolving the debate over Internet neutrality, and executing a strategy to protect critical information.

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