Net Neutrality – Definition

Cite this article as:"Net Neutrality – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated July 31, 2019, last accessed August 12, 2020,


Net Neutrality Definition

In the usage of internet, net neutrality is a concept that holds that all data or information available on the internet should be treated the same by Internet service providers (ISPs) and government bodies. Net neutrality maintains that the content of a data, its application, device or platform used in searching the data should not restrict access to the data. This means that no data should be cloaked in a manner that it becomes inaccessible to users.

ISPs and governments are expected to provide equality in dat access and no data should be placed above another. Also, some data should not have special arrangements or be blocked by ISPs and governments.

A Little More on What is Net Neutrality

Net neutrality is the same as network neutrality. In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)  introduced net neutrality in 2002 to allow broadband providers share their data and infrastructure with other firms, usually their competitors. This regulation was however removed by the court in 2005.

Net neutrality came to be in 2015, this was when ISPs were mandated not to restrict a part of their websites and data.

Before net neutrality was introduced, ISPs use diverse tactics to garner traffic to their websites, also, some ISPs deliberately clone part of the data, thereby making them inaccessible to users. Some ISPs and websites also block or degrade specific data for business purposes. With the introduction of net neutrality, ISPs cannot influence the speed that consumers or users can enjoy when certain websites. Access of consumers to certain websites and data are not restricted. The concept of net neutrality also create capacity for new service providers to enter the market. Through advicacy for net neutrality, data discrimination  by broadband providers is curbed, thereby creating an open internet for all.

The major organizations that proposed and advocated net neutrality include consumer rights advocates, human rights organizations and other stakeholders such as software organizations. These groups also advocated for a number of things such as the concepts or principles of common carriers and dumb pipe which are crucial to net neutrality.

There are criticisms against network neutrality, the major ones include the following. According to some critics, innovations and investments that will birth new infrastructure are likely to decline through this concept. Also, investors might derail from investing in new infrastructure when ISPs and government are mandates to treat data and websites equally.

Another criticism against net neutrality is that investments will generate low ROI due to the removal of charges for access that consumers enjoy. According to ASPs, charges for access help in generating capital for operation and also enhance competition which will in turn trigger greater innovations in the sector.

References for “Net Neutrality

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