Net Neutrality

I have always been a champion of the freedom of speech, expression and the right to share information. Since net neutrality falls under this category, I feel it does deserve my attention. It means that all the data on the internet must be treated equally by ISPs and governments, regardless of platform, content, user, application, or device.

I think that by not allowing ISPs to fix the speed for consumers, smaller companies can also enter the market. This will create new services. Smaller companies might not be able to pay for the fast lane access that big companies penetrate.

Net neutrality is a cornerstone of open internet, and it should be mandated by law in India and elsewhere so that it prevents broadband providers from practicing data discrimination which is a competitive tactic for them and it deprives people of valuable data and companies of sales.

For example, a lot of the well-to do social network websites were created without much seed capital. Had they been forced to pay extra in order to be on the internet at the same speed as competitors, they may never have become successful.

It is not just me. A lot of groups like consumer rights advocates, software companies and human rights orgs, who believe in the freedom of free speech, and open opportunities for everyone also stand in support of net neutrality. Cable companies should actually be “common carriers,” like public utility companies or public transportation providers, who do not have the privilege and are forbidden by law from discriminating among their users. Municipal broadband might be a solution.

People who are against network neutrality suggest that by forcing ISPs to treat all traffic equally the government will ultimately discourage the investment in new infrastructure, and will also create a disincentive for ISPs to innovate. The up-front costs associated with laying down fiber optic wire, for example, can be very expensive, and critics argue that not being to charge more for that level of access will make the investment more difficult to pay off. All this cannot be the cost of freedom of speech and thought and that’s why net neutrality is important.

Let’s understand this. You are a small company with great ads and SEO. You have spent your time and effort into making these and then, when a prospective customer clicks on an ad, they are redirected to your page but since you’re a small company and haven’t bribed your ISP, the page won’t load. Even if it does, it will be extremely slow. The person might get frustrated eventually and leave. This is the price of not having net neutrality.

Net neutrality is mandatory if we want to say that the consumer still has a choice. If ISPs get to choose for us instead, which sites we see and when, millions of businesses — large and small alike — will suffer, and so will we, the consumers.

Unless the web remains free and open, consumers will have one choice — their ISP’s.

Content marketing is a powerful process of getting in the public eye for the small businesses. Individual bloggers have got their content across to so many people with traffic to their blogs. All these dreams and aspirations will be useless once the ISPs have control over the content you see. You will get garbage ads and content which is not tailored to your needs or interests. How terrifying would that be?

A lot of the Silicon Valley’s biggest players have very small beginnings. Internet marketing’s biggest (and most profitable) advertising platforms, including Google and Facebook, were highly innovative ideas that the open internet helped grow and propagate. If we did not have net neutrality, these many other technological success stories would never have materialized.

In addition to stifling innovation, the end of net neutrality would limit how marketing channels could evolve over time, limiting advertisers’ reach and making it increasingly difficult for marketers to adapt to changing consumer behavior. Of course, some of the major players could capitalize on these “new” discriminatory business models (a point ISP lobbyists have been pushing hard in Washington), but what about the little guys? Not so much.

If the web is not free, students won’t even be able to conduct research and we will come to a standstill when it comes to innovation. People won’t get what they want to see as it will be very difficult for people creating content to reach people.

It might be a step forward to restore the protection which was set in 2015, but it’s not a silver bullet. ISPs must be open about how traffic is managed over their networks in order for anyone to know when there’s a problem. A crucial role can also be played by local governments if they support competitive municipal and community networks. When consumers have the right to vote with their feet, service providers have a strong incentive not to act in non-neutral ways.

I want the Internet to live up to its promise, fostering innovation, creativity, and freedom. We don’t want ISPs acting as gatekeepers, making special deals with a few companies and inhibiting new competition, innovation, and expression.

--

--

Get the Latest News and Updates from Achal Ramesh Chaurasia — Achal Chaurasia is a known businessman and entrepreneur. Read More at www.achalchaurasia.com

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Achal Chaurasia

Achal Chaurasia

Get the Latest News and Updates from Achal Ramesh Chaurasia — Achal Chaurasia is a known businessman and entrepreneur. Read More at www.achalchaurasia.com