The last Saturday, May 17 celebrated the Internet Day, an opportune moment to revive certain debates as the neutrality of the network. In recent months have launched various proposals, both in Europe and in the United States and other countries, in order to either eliminate this fundamental principle, or at least slow efforts to stop being just a beginning and assumed to be made a mandatory law. The term full pages in newspapers and raises controversy in social networks. Why have so many net neutrality advocates? Does it benefit consumers? This article addresses these and other doubts.
We all start from the same point on the Internet
The concept of net neutrality is summarized in the maxim: “A bit is equal to one bit”. Refers to the bit, the basic unit of information, must not be distinguished in a channel as Internet content class leading and therefore should be assessed only in quantity but not in quality. Therefore, any content circulating on the Internet should be treated like the rest, and comes from the blog of a simple anonymous user or a distribution company like Amazon.
The implications of this basic principle, and almost founding, the operation of the Network is that within them all have the same level of control and opportunities regarding the flow of information, and we differ only by our ability to create content or better services and to become more popular than others. In other words, the digital age equalizes us all when technological capacity.
An example makes this concept is understandable Photo. When an analog, single professional dressed in the best cameras was being able to take good pictures; in digital, everyone can more or less, buys a good camera, learn to use and get quality photographs. The professional will continue to have his talent and experience to be better, but photographic technology more acceptable to all flight is.
A century of limited information
During the last century, television and radio dominated the information landscape, especially in the second half, so their influence and ability to control the content we received was great. In many cases, and around the world, we were informed, biased or incomplete on various subjects, such news so conditioned our world view mode. And while other times compared with the freedom to be informed was much higher, so was the ability to be manipulated. However, it was not an unfair situation, but it technologically limited: there were few persons or entities could acquire the necessary technology (expensive and complex) and also space available to establish a channel was limited.
In the digital era, this picture changes completely: the space issue is much broader, almost limitless and also the issue of information technology is affordable to everyone, since a smartphone just 200 euros. In such conditions, the information asymmetry of the twentieth century, in which a few had access to sources of knowledge and communication channels, fractures. And the result is that we all know: thousands of blogs, new media such as self- Eroski CONSUMER – emissions Radio and video independent and social networks to accelerate the sharing of the information generated. As a result, the old information oligopolies break and have less and less audience.
Are we moving towards a televised Internet?
However, the fact that moving the contents equals the Net depends heavily on telecom operators, who create the infrastructure (cables) for the network to reach all households. They make investments in wiring so we can all go online and post or receive content and services, and we charge a monthly fee for this access.
These operators are not involved or discriminate the contents circulating, but complain that the more activity, the more bandwidth consumption and more investment should they do for the Network continues to grow. They want therefore charge quotas to companies operating on the Internet and have high demand for bandwidth as Google, Amazon, Spotify or Netflix among others, so they will pay; the more quickly reach the user.
This would mean that one bit would be like another bit and have “bit rich” and “poor bits” so that some come more easily to other users, as paid by the issuer. It would be the end of net neutrality and the informational symmetry that has reigned since the advent of the Internet, as a similar to the television model would, with “paid content” that would be much easier access to other more independent, but much reduced supply current information.
How do we affect the end of neutrality?
The justification for this claim-carriers before they have been doing for many years – is that these payments amortize investments would encourage or even make further progress in the development of new technologies, so that protocols such as 4G or above could be extended with quickly, as would report a profit. However, charging rates that would favor more powerful services and Internet companies could be a dangerous precedent for monopolistic practices and anti-competitive behavior that could put us back in the twentieth century.
So, Telephone could have favored in their day to network Tuenti against Facebook. Or now Facebook could pay for better access to users that weaker competitor. Or Amazon or Rakuten (two giants of online sales) could choke small and new businesses that will bid interesting products based pay they get faster. Eventually, in short, the network could end up being a simplified and impoverished medium, such as television is today or many shopping streets in large cities. In a way, would the panorama of the twentieth century.