The Internet is by far the most fascinating invention ever to me. Its ability to contain access to the infinite knowledge of nearly everything in digital format is beyond my comprehension. Seeing technology grow through my years has kept me heavily involved with my inner geek. I stay on top of the news, especially technology news, and over the past few years a topic that has repeatedly caught my eye is the complicated topic of Net Neutrality.
I began my research on Net Neutrality by first figuring out where the term originated from and what the term actually means.
On February 3, 2003 Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia Law School, presented his paper on “Network Neutrality, Broadband Discrimination,” at the Silicon Flatirons conference in Boulder, Colo. Wu’s paper is believed to be the first use of the term. Tim Wu defines Net Neutrality as:
Network neutrality is best defined as a network design principle. The idea is that a maximally useful public information network aspires to treat all content, sites, and platforms equally. This allows the network to carry every form of information and support every kind of application. The principle suggests that information networks are often more valuable when they are less specialized – when they are a platform for multiple uses, present and future.
Essentially what Professor Wu is trying to explain is that “Network Neutrality” is a battle over how much control internet services providers (ISPs) should have in deciding whether to pick and choose favorites among different websites and online applications. The battle lines are drawn over whether ISPs should have the right to exact direct control over the content and data flowing across their networks. For example, should Comcast . .s article “Ma Bell’s Revenge: The battle for Network Neutrality” shows us in a just a few of the hundreds of arguments which have been brought up over the proposal of network neutrality. Network neutrality essentially means that all data gets treated the same by an ISP or service, whether it be an incoming email or a gigantic video file, it’s is based on the principle that Internet users should be in control of what content they view and what applications they choose to use on the Internet.
The Internet has operated according to this neutrality principle since its earliest days. In other words, net neutrality is about equal access to the Internet in terms of overall speed. Just as telephone companies are not permitted to tell consumers who they can call or what they can say, broadband carriers should not be allowed to use their market power to control activity online.