During the opening of the 2012 London Olympic Games, Tim Berners-Lee (the inventor of the World Wide Web) appeared on stage and tweeted the words “this is for everyone” which was then displayed in LCD lights around the stadium. However, concerns about whether or not the internet will be allowed to remain “for everyone” has reached another turning point this week as President Obama joined the debate on net neutrality.
President Obama has come out this week in support of net neutrality. The president released a statement which urged the FCC to implement strict rules to ensure that the net remains “open, fair and free”. He went on to suggest the reclassification of internet services under Tier II of the telecommunications act, which has been seen by many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) as completely unwarranted. Watch Obama's speech on net neutrality.
The stance on net neutrality varies around the world with some tending more towards Obama’s view point while others side with the ISPs. Whatever the debate’s eventual conclusion, a decision in the US will have a ripple effect which will have major consequences, not just for the global telecoms market, but for everyone that uses the internet whether it be on a computer, phone, tablet or any other device.
The European Parliament voted earlier this year to restrict ISPs ability to charge services that use more data and prevent ISPs from blocking their competitor’s websites and services. The argument for taking this stance was the belief that the internet should remain an open forum where people can communicate freely and internet traffic is treated equally regardless of its source.
On the other hand, ISPs and other anti-net neutrality lobbyists claim that not charging more for services that use vast amounts of data could lead to increased costs for all internet users regardless of their data usage. ISPs claim they are having to constantly update and improve their infrastructure to keep up with ever increasing data demands. With the costs of these upgrades increasing daily, ISPs say that the costs will need to be passed on either to site operators that use more data as is proposed, or to the end user.
Regardless of which side you agree with, a disconnect between how countries and continents approach net neutrality could have a profoundly negative effect on telecommunications around the world. Telecoms companies, especially those providing services that require large quantities of data, may have to make allowances for the differences in digital approach in different territories which may affect their bottom lines.
Source: Vine 15