ATTACHMENT PREVIEW Download attachmentInteractive Session: Organizations The Battle Over Net NeutralityWhat kind of Internet user are you? Do you primarily use the Net to do a little e-mail and onlinebanking? Or are you online all day, watching YouTube videos, downloading music files, orplaying online games? Do you use your iPhone to stream TV shows and movies on a regularbasis? If you’re a power Internet or smartphone user, you are consuming a great deal ofbandwidth. Could hundreds of millions of people like you start to slow the Internet down?Video streaming on Netflix accounts for 32 percent of all bandwidth use in the United States, andGoogle’s YouTube for 19 percent of Web traffic at peak hours. If user demand overwhelmsnetwork capacity, the Internet might not come to a screeching halt, but users could face sluggishdownload speeds and video transmission. Heavy use of iPhones in urban areas such as New Yorkand San Francisco has already degraded service on the AT&T wireless network. AT&T reportedthat 3 percent of its subscriber base accounted for 40 percent of its data traffic.Internet service providers (ISPs) assert that network congestion is a serious problem and thatexpanding their networks would require passing on burdensome costs to consumers. Thesecompanies believe differential pricing methods, which include data caps and metered use—charging based on the amount of bandwidth consumed—are the fairest way to finance necessaryinvestments in their network infrastructures. But metering Internet use is not widely accepted,because of an ongoing debate about net neutrality.Net neutrality is the idea that Internet service providers must allow customers equal access tocontent and applications, regardless of the source or nature of the content. Presently, the Internetis neutral: all Internet traffic is treated equally on a first-come, first-served basis by Internetbackbone owners. However, this arrangement prevents telecommunications and cable companiesfrom charging differentiated prices based on the amount of bandwidth consumed by the contentbeing delivered over the Internet.The strange alliance of net neutrality advocates includes MoveOn.org; the Christian Coalition;the American Library Association; data-intensive Web businesses such as Netflix, Amazon, andGoogle; major consumer groups; and a host of bloggers and small businesses. Net neutralityadvocates argue that differentiated pricing would impose heavy costs on heavy bandwidth userssuch as YouTube, Skype, and other innovative services, preventing high-bandwidth startupcompanies from gaining traction. Net neutrality supporters also argue that without net neutrality,ISPs that are also cable companies, such as Comcast, might block online streaming video from
View the AnswerNetflix or Hulu in order to force customers to use the cable company’s on-demand movie rentalservices.Network owners believe regulation to enforce net neutrality will impede U.S. competitiveness bydiscouraging capital expenditure for new networks and curbing their networks’ ability to copewith the exploding demand for Internet and wireless traffic. U.S. Internet service lags behindmany other nations in overall speed, cost, and quality of service, adding credibility to thisargument. And with enough options for Internet access, dissatisfied consumers could simplyswitch to providers who enforce net neutrality and allow unlimited Internet use.The wireless industry had been largely exempted from net neutrality rules, because thegovernment determined it was a less mature network and companies should be allowed morefreedom to manage traffic. Wireless providers already have tiered plans that charge heavybandwidth users larger service fees.A December 2012 report by the non-profit, nonpartisan, public policy institute, New AmericaFoundation (NAF), disputes these claims. Like personal computers, the processing capacity ofthe routers and switches in wired broadband networks has vastly expanded while the price hasdeclined. Although total U.S. Internet data consumption rose 120% in 2012, the cost to transportthe data decreased at a faster pace. The net cost to carriers was at worst flat and for the most part,down. The NAF report further asserts that lack of competition has enabled wired broadbandcarriers to charge higher rates, institute data caps, and spend less on the capital expendituresneeded to upgrade and maintain their networks than they have in the past.The courts have maintained that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has noauthority to dictate how the Internet operates. The Communications Act of 1996 forbids theagency from managing the Internet as a “common carrier,” the regulatory approach thecommission took toward telephones, and the FCC itself decided not to classify broadband as atelecommunications service.On January 14, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia struck down theFCC’s “Open Internet” rules that required equal treatment of Internet traffic and preventedbroadband providers from blocking traffic favoring certain sites or charging special fees tocompanies that account for the most traffic. The court said the FCC saddled broadband providers
Hi there! Click one of our representatives below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.