ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Net Neutrality and Internet Regulation - Why YOU should Be Concerned!

Updated on July 12, 2012

How much of your time do you spend on the internet? Do you surf the net only a few minutes to catch up on the daily news or check e-mail? Do you spend hours a day streaming YouTube and Netflix videos, chatting on Facebook or Skype, and playing online games like Farmville? Odds are you’re your somewhere in between. In fact, a research study conducted by Harris Interactive found that American adults are spending an average of 13 hours a week online with the highest group totaling around 24 hours per week. That's 7.7% or 14.2% respectively, of the week spent online. Basically, the amount of time Americans are spending online has been increasing dramatically over the past ten years. Additionally, a study conducted by the Nielson Company found that the the average amount of time Americans spend on social networking sites has increased 43% from June 2009 to June 2010! A dramatic increase in a relatively short amount of time, but it’s not surprising considering the advent of internet capable mobile phones, internet integrated TVs and video games, and the popularity of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.  As the internet itself changes so has the debate of how the internet should be regulated. 


Source
Source

At present, in order to utilize internet access, one has to simply pay a fee to his/her internet service provider (ISP), usually your local cable company, such as Qwest or Comcast, and connect this service to a computer. This fee typically grants the user the ability to access the internet and use any features one desires -- watching online videos, searching topics, e-mailing, instant messaging, social networking, and blogging -- to name a few. Of course, there are many people that spend a relatively small amount of time per day browsing the net. On the other hand, as the studies above illustrate, there are also many people who spend hours upon hours utilizing a variety of internet services such as Skype's video chat and streaming various other forms of media which can use a large amount of bandwidth.


Net Neutrality Video Breakdown

This is where network neutrality comes in. The concept of net neutrality is that ISPs should treat all users equally and not discriminate between different kinds of online content, meaning each user pays a single fee for access to every available corner of the Internet, regardless of what type of content they access or what sites they visit. Presently, wired ISPs don't regulate the amount of data or the length of time a user is connected verus any other internet user. They also don't give preference to one website verus any other. For example, ISPs aren't allowed to provided faster service to your Facebook page because they receive a portion of Facebook's advertising revenue, and to block another site from which they don't receive revenue. Otherwise, this could create a situation in which only sites that can pay ISPs get to provide the best browsing experience for their users, thus creating and unfair advantage. In simplest terms, net neutrality means keeping the internet as it is today. However, as the number of internet users and the time they each spend connected has increased, the biggest cable and telephone companies have expressed a desire to chane the status quo.

In fact, net neutrality was brought to the publics attention in 2007 when Comcast blocked traffic from an internet file-sharing client called BitTorrent, claiming the service was overloading its network. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which regulates all communications in the US, ordered Comcast to stop blocking the site, but Comcast countered by suing the FCC, and won, as it was determined that the FCC had overstepped it's authority by trying to regulate the way Comcast managed its network. However, due primarily to a disgruntled public, Comcast eventually lifted the ban on the file-sharing site.

One major concern of proponents of net neutrality is that large cable companies want to create a "tiered" service package. Much like the most cable network providers operate today. Want standard channels alone, 50 bucks/month. You want to add HD channels? Fine, that will be another 10 bucks a month. Still not enough viewing options, OK, we'll add in HBO and Cinemax for another 15 bones. The point is, without neutrality, many people believe internet service providers will start creating the same sort of tiered services. You want standard browsing, $15. Oh, your a Facebook junkie and need massive amounts of data transferring capacity  to upload pictures? OK, that will be another 5 bucks. You love blogging on HubPages? Great, fork over another additional dollar for every 5 MB you download from that site...And hey, while we're at it, we're going to charge you 50 cents per YouTube video you watch.

As you can probably guess, this doesn't bode well for your average internet user. However, there are have recent developments to prohibit this type of service.

The Good News

On December 21st, 2010 the FCC, by a 3 to 2 vote, decided to assign itself the authority to allow it to impose rules that stop internet providers from discriminating against web content. Here are the rules

  • Rule 1: Transparency

  • Rule 2: No Blocking

  • Rule 3: No Unreasonable Discrimination

This means that it is unlawful for ISPs to prevent a user from accessing any legal content, whether it be a social media site or a video file sharing site. Therefore, as things stand today, your wired internet browsing ability will remain unchanged, unless of course the major service providers file further ligation against the FCC.

Source

The Bad News

While the FCC has decided to strengthen the rules of net neutrality for hard-wired connections, it declared that net neutrality over wireless mobile devices will be much less regulated. This decision is surprising considering the fact that a large portion of the US internet traffic now comes from mobile devices. Obviously, mobile internet providers such as AT&T and Verizon stand to benefit. In fact, Wired.com recently came across a presentation from Allot Communications and Openet, which provide internet access to large mobile companies such as Verizon, in which they clearly express a desire to end net neutrality by monitoring your online activity and charging you extra for using certain services such as Facebook and Netflix. Obviously, they want to end net neutrality because it would allow them to widen their profit margins. You can see one of the slides from the presentation on the right.

Only one day after the FCC ruling, Republicans have gathered virtually unanimous support to rally against the new regulations, claiming the internet needs less regulation and the ruling will halt job creation. In fact, House Commerce Chairman Fred Upton said that his committee is planing multiple hearings to oppose the FCC regulations and will use "every available resource to do so."

In my opion, these guys are missing the boat. Net neutrality isn't for adding additional government regulation of the internet, rather the exact opposite. They want to keep the internet as it currently stands. For example, you and I can blog on HupPages about whatever topic we like, and we are on the same playing field as a New York Times columnist publishing similar articles. We both fight for traffic, but our content and writing drives our traffic, not because the NYT is paying Comcast for an increased upload speed, and thus a better user experience!

It's sad, but Republics claim the battle for net neutrality is far from over....

So,here is the million dollar question…

Would you still spend 13 hours per week of your time online if you had to pay per MB of bandwidth? Would you pay $0.25 for each YouTube video streamed or $0.05 for every 2 MB of Facebook data downloaded, in addition to your monthly rate? Obviously, depending on the type of internet user your are, your charges could accrue quite quickly.

The bottom line is the net neutrality issue could end up dramatically affecting your wallet, especially if you’re the high bandwidth type of internet browser, and for that reason alone, you should care.

Let me know where you stand on the issue of network neutrality in the comments section below.


Don't forget to check out my other hubs at my profile page and to follow me on Twitter @Enni82!

If you like to write and would enjoy some additional income, you can sign up for HubPages by clicking here.



Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Enni82 profile imageAUTHOR

      Enni82 

      7 years ago from Rochester MN

      Thank you for the kind words! Please feel free to share it!

    • TopOfTheFirstPage profile image

      TopOfTheFirstPage 

      7 years ago

      Thanks for writing this... It's chock-full of important information and everyone who uses the internet should read it!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)