Internet at risk: ‘Net Neutrality’

The set of laws imposed during the Barack Obama government, which ensured that both users and websites, had the same possibilities of receiving, consuming or creating information in an equitable way and without restrictions does not longer govern. 


Internet in the world is controlled by Internet Service Providers (ISP). In U.S. these companies had to agree on a chain of regulations that required them to provide all their users with the legal content available on the web. Furthermore, they had to openly and with the same speed do it for all. However, now with the revocation of the Net Neutrality, approved by the government of Donald Trump, the supplier companies may censor, block, prioritize, or charge both companies and users. In that sense, additional fees will exist to access certain web pages.


Therefore, the free, open and, plural Internet we know would begin to disappear. The disappearance will take place because the supplier companies will be free to experiment with new prices, blocks, packages and services. To exemplify it in a more concrete way, accessing Internet would then be similar to paying a cable operator plan, which can block and unblock channels at their convenience and according to the needs or economic reach of the user. If for example a person wants to access Facebook, Netflix or Youtube – and these pages happen to be blocked – the user would have to pay an extra rate tin order to have access.


If the person is for instance an entrepreneur, designer, photographer, youtuber, blogger, or a small business owner who sells products by Internet, will have to pay more or be issue by special conditions in order to gain visibility and reach users. Those who refuse or cannot access these terms could be discriminated or simply not visible in the web.


The great recipients of what some experts start to describe as the "castration of Internet" will be, of course, the provider companies. Corporations indicate that by raising more money from users and companies they will be able to improve their services and take it to small communities with deficiencies in Internet access.


Price rising, the first consequence


As explained for Ryan Singel, net neutrality expert at the Center for Internet Studies and the Society of Stanford University, "the first consequences will not fall directly on individuals", because the fastest way to make money is behind the companies in the network. This means that Internet providers will initially start charging big streaming companies an extra fee for having better download speeds. "Netflix, for instance, will become more expensive, as they will have to pay higher fees for using better quality internet to offer their services, they will need to charge their users more to maintain it," says Singel.


Another example that can be mentioned is that online product sales pages, such as Amazon and Mercado Libre will have to pay more for Internet access. As a result, they will end up raising the products’ prices that finally the users pay. By doing so, people will be affected by Net Neutrality dissolution because they will be forced to pay more for a series of services that were already open and decentralized.


Global Consequences


Even though this measure begins in the U.S., it is feared that other countries will begin to copy the model aiming to favored the economic income of private companies, which undoubtedly have complete control over this service.


On the other hand, all companies that sell products or services through the Internet, and want to reach the American market, will find restrictions to access users. This indicates that the size or solvency of an enterprise will also define the Internet that can be used, having this a direct relationship with the quantity and quality of customers that can be reached.


Under this scenario, the technological breakthrough that put knowledge and information in hands of each human being, begins to be restricted, censored and blocked. The measure responds to economic and mercantile interests of a few corporations. Even more, it Ignores the struggle and the advances that for decades’ humanity has conquered in its search for freedom and equity.

LatinAmerican Post | Krishna Jaramillo

Copy edited by Marcela Peñaloza


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