Each of us here in the US has usually two real options for broadband - cable or DSL. If we're lucky, we have another option of fiber optics. Cable and DSL are both government regulated monopolies, so we usually only get one choice of ISP on each of those wires. Cable tends to be much faster than DSL, but your cable provider is also in the business of providing cable TV. Besides forced monopolies being absolutely horrible, this is an inherent conflict of interest.
If I want to watch TV - lets say on Netflix - my cable ISP can legally degrade my performance of watching Netflix (or give their own network preferential treatment at the expense of all others - same thing) unless Netflix pays them off. And ya'll think that's OK? That's the 'free market'?
ISPs are using PUBLIC rights of way for their networks and are mandated monopolies. If we had the choice of 10 ISPs over cable or DSL the 'free market' would probably work fine... But we don't.
We are stuck with two options, and without network neutrality our options will further degrade. All the while our mandated monopoly ISPs bring in record breaking profits, and our infrastructure lags behind the rest of the world.
The idea of network neutrality is sound and should be adopted into law. Internet providers should be distatched from the internet and we should have freedom. It is in the law that we have freedom, and the internet should not be any different. We need an open internet and network neutrality will provide this.
The implementation into national law might not be enough but it is necessary and indispensable to improve the human right of freedom of expression. Net Neutrality legislation is not enough, though. Additional measures must be taken to strengthen competition among the last mile infrastructure and also to enable Quality of Service.
I believe network neutrality would be a positive step ahead for our nation. Companies that control the source, type, amount, or speed at which a population can access information is tantamount to running a monopoly. Nations which have endured this type of control are the nations that become socialist, or even communist, societies.
In the U.S., high-speed Internet is expensive and slower than other countries, like South Korea, because a few corporations control the Internet and want to bilk out as much as they can from consumers. With net neutrality, Internet becomes faster, cheaper, and corporations cannot block what you want to see online.
When enabling service providers (telephone, cable, satellite) have the ABILITY to limit access to applications, websites, protocols or services they are able to drive Internet users to captive websites, applications, protocols and services, all that is missing is the financial INCENTIVE to do so. Competition for services is reduced, or more likely eliminated, based on the creation of artificial barriers intended to collect revenue from a captive customer pool.
Without network neutrality, big companies can control information. The point of the Internet when it was developed was to share ideas and research, and it has now become so much more. The Internet has become the source of news for most of the world, with all of our portable electronic devices giving us access to everything we could inquire about on the fly. Without network neutrality, those searches will be throttled, prioritized and delegated by someone or something who decides what is more important, either my search, or someone trying to access their bank account information. The Internet should be first come, first serve, not predicated on who can make the most money off of packet priority.
The strength of the Internet is that it allows arbitrary communications between any two arbitrary connected points. Network neutrality is the source of this key strength. Allowing companies to end network neutrality would severely damage the Internet. It would tend to become more like cable TV, where you can only access corporate channels, and only by buying costly packages. Free communication and innovation would be hindered. It would be as if the phone company was allowed to arbitrarily charge you 5 cents a minute to call Company A, but a dollar a minute to call Company B, even if they were the same distance away. It would be as if the post office could charge you 40 cents to mail an order to Company C, but 3 dollars to mail an order to Company D, and wouldn't send your letters to Company E at all.
The recent protests in the Arab world speak to the untenable nature of a government or corporation with too much control over access to and content on the Internet. Especially in America, where freedom and the right to education and information is part of our history, net neutrality is important and should be codified.
The best example that I can think of is AT&T. Back when they were a monopoly and could determine what devices could be attached to the network, they were able to extract crazy fees from would-be innovators. Once they were forced to allow the use of other devices we saw an explosion of new tech, like the fax machine. Although I support net neutrality I think a larger issue, at least for the US, is the monopoly of broadband providers, and I think that the two issues go hand in hand.
Network neutrality would have health care bandwidth compete with all other bandwidth. Many high-usage files like radiographic images and other diagnostics should be given preference to low-end users using the Internet for home use or pleasure. For technology to progress and to give a fair platform for developers of applications, there must be a solution that circumvents net neutrality.
Networks are neutral because their customers want access to any and all content. They must be because the moment they begin to bias content, customers leave or seek work-arounds to access what they want. Piracy websites and private data encryption software are proof of this concept. Free and open access to information is essential to the democracy of ideas and an ethos of the Internet. When network neutrality is made law, those who make laws decide what is neutral. And far too often, those who make the laws either favor network providers who pay to play, or force network providers to filter content to meet political objectives in order to stay in business. Network neutrality by law, in either case, destroys true democracy online and subverts it in the real world.
The Internet is the freest place in the world. You can do just about anything, whether it's positive or negative. Once a company or government regulates that, then the freedom doesn't exist. After all, you either have freedom or you don't. The U.S constitution guarantees network neutrality by the freedom of speech. Disallowing access to certain websites would inhibit this freedom of speech.
Regulation, especially when unnecessary, only creates greater bureaucratic control. We already have a greater increase in government regulation and control, including the Health Care Reform Act(HCRA), and a simultaneous increase in its cost. The CBO numbers for HCRA are already low in estimation. Network Neutrality legislation would do the same.
If a person feels like a network is leaning to far to one side or the other they should pick up their remote. There are so many choices on television and cable today, that you can almost certainly find one that is balanced enough for you. Seeing as how ninety percent of media outlets tend to lean towards the left, conservative thinkers will have a harder time finding one.
Net neutrality is not a sound idea and should not be adopted into law because it's just a money grab by ISPs. ISPs tried to use a word like "neutral" to make it seem more palatable, but it's just marketing. By causing more popular sites to pay them for service, ISPs will throttle the market. It would be a massive blow to the internet and set it back years.
Who is supposed to judge about fairness? It is a very government-based, caste-based idea. A good place to start as far as why this is a problem rather than a help is Jeswald D. Salacuse and his books, especially on negotiating with government. It's not the same standard of conduct to deal with a government than it is with a free man, because instead of trying to have every side come out benefiting, the idea is to be fair to the people who did not win the contract, did not get their way. Why would we want to Bell Telephone the Internet?