Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers must treat all data on the Internet the same and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication.
Okay, what is the big fuss about the Cancellation of the Net Neutrality Law? Firstly, how does this affect us as internet service users?
Well, the best analogy I can think off is your cable TV. Most of us who subscribe to cable TV are aware of the fact that the subscriptions come in Flavours.
Typically, a basic package exists that exclude major sports, movies, entertainment and kids. Now, depending on your interest and your affordability, you will subscribe to a package of your choice.
In addition, typically, there is a full package, which allows you all the available TV stations.
Now, if the net neutrality law equivalent was applied to cable TV, then all we pay for is the same subscription and with that, we will get all the available TV stations. I am willing to bet that if the net neutrality law equivalent had been applied to cable TV all these while, the cable TV providers like DSTV, SKY TV etc. will charge customers the price of the full package. This way, they (ISPs) will not be at a loss, and all subscribers will have the full package.
The issue with this is that we the subscribers will never know there could have been a cheaper and more tailored option to subscribe too.
Now let us get back to the internet. I strongly believe the cancellation of the Net Neutrality Law is to the advantage to the consumer. Most of the articles I have read on this topic have suggested otherwise. Imagine an internet subscription that excludes access to streaming of movies, Peer to peer and online gaming. This would be far cheaper than a full package and will do well for the Granny that lives in Old County that only needs the internet to send and receive emails from her grandkids.
Now, ISPs will have to employ innovation to carve out suitable packages that suit their subscriber needs. The competition this will generate will further drive internet price down and put smiles on our faces, and our pockets too.
As an experienced network engineer of one of Nigeria’s most innovative ISPs @layer3nigeria, I can only imagine the technicalities from various OEMs that will be employed in the backend of ISP networks. The edge of every ISP’s network will have devices that can act as filters and firewalls that will categorise the internet access package the subscriber is subscribed to.
Rumour has it that some ISPs in the developed world are covertly suppressing certain data and traffic. For example, individuals that live the UAE are aware of the limitation of the use of WhatsApp voice calls, imposed by the Telcos. In addition, Comcast in the US is been alleged to suppress P2P and certain streaming traffic.
It will be interesting to see how this unfolds and the ripple effect it will have on internet users worldwide.
- On February 4, 2019
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