The principle of net neutrality, if effectuated by regulatory guarantees, restrains operators to interfere by any means on the content of data traffic that flows through their networks. If the principle of net neutrality is not respected, operators may start charging a “arbitrary bits toll” for the information that passes on their networks. And who loses with that? We, the users!
Who gets advantage not complying with net neutrality?
The telecom operators, which in most countries have the main circuits of data traffic (or backbones) on the networks, and today also the overwhelming majority of access services to the final users. Without net neutrality they can assume the control of the traffic of the Internet at the enlace level (the one which connects users’ computer or device to any Internet “entry point”), including the rooting of those for the distinct circuits. Thus, they can conceive new forms of charging for these services in contracts between these and the content or application providers, or among smaller service providers, which depend on these operators to the Internet connection.
How is it today?
The contracts between operators and providers (be there content or access) are based on capacity of transmission, that may be limited to a two-ways speed (in multiple of bits per second) or simply a physical connection of unlimited use (for instance, a pair or a point to point fiber channel). The contracts are monthly fixed rates and, within limits specified in contract, there is no additional costs to a provider which hires them. Furthermore, the operator is not entitled to interfere on what passes through the hired ‘tubes’. If the hired capacity is plainly used, this is responsibility of whom is contracting and the operator obligation is simply honoring the contract.
But it may get further worse:
Operators are pushing to have freedom to arbitrarily prioritize traffic and monetize its content. In other words, absolute freedom to assume the control of data transport and rooting to price this transport also in an arbitrary way – to sum up, to tolling the bits arbitrarily.
How are telecom providers dealing with this topic in your country? Let us know that are your headlines on net neutrality, or even exercise your imagination and tell us how do you envision a segmented web and how bad that could be.