OP ED: “NEUTRALLY DIVIDED”

The Sun is available to all for a limited time, those times are more or less equal with very few excuses for divide. Now imagine, if companies were in charge of the sun and they could control, how many hours of light, the intensity of the light, based on ones payment. This is where the analogy gets strange, in some cases you might only be allowed certain frequencies of light, because of its popularity.

The internet is a universal service based on a set of standards, most nominally TCP/IP. On Feb 26, 2015 the FCC adopted the open internet rules; rules established to create a definition for the internet providers as common carriers (“Open Internet,” n.d.). These rules outline different sections, clear Bright-Line rules, No Unreasonable Interference or Unreasonable Disadvantage to Consumers or Edge Providers, Enhanced Transparency, Scope of the Rules, and Enforcement (“Open Internet”).

Bright- Line rules are pretty clear and they are as follows, No Blocking, No Throttling, No Paid Prioritization (“Open Internet”).

Net Neutrality is about not allowing ISPs to be more then just rented data pipes to transport this data (Gillula, 2017). Many ISPs have abused their position by attempting to enforce data caps for particular sites, throttling, prioritization, packet manipulation, tracking users with intent to sell, to name a few (Gillula).

While internet access is protected in some ways, in no way is it a public utility that would mandate and regulate price, quality of service and benefits to access, at-least, not universally at a federal level (Crowcroft, 2007). Because the internet specifically is not a utility it naturally creates a divide by not being recognized as a fundamental service for use.

E-government Act of 2002, establishes the importance of accessibility for all on the internet, including the disabled, but not its provision to all.

It’s clear that the government understands the importance of the information being made available on the platform. People without internet in their homes can not utilize it as the resource that it is. However, this lack of access may not necessarily represent a disadvantage. Just because the resource is there does not mean that it will be used to one’s advantage, but to not have it available as a resource does.

Internationally Net Neutrality is a very distant idea. The open internet is not so open around the world. The great firewall of China is a great example. It is possible that new technologies will continue to evolve the way we connect and that invention is the the only thing standing in the way of current infrastructure and what the internet might become.

References:

Crowcroft, J. (2007). Net neutrality: the technical side of the debate: a white paper. ACM SIGCOMM Computer Communication Review, 37(1), 49–56.

Gillula, J. (2017, March 19). Five Creepy Things Your ISP Could Do if Congress Repeals the FCC’s Privacy Protections. Retrieved March 26, 2017, from https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2017/03/five-creepy-things-your-isp-could-... repeals-fccs-privacy-protections

Open Internet. (n.d.). Retrieved March 26, 2017, from https://www.fcc.gov/general/open-internet

(Editor’s Note: For American Samoa, the high cost for internet service not always delivered with consistency by either provider — there are two on island — no matter what you pay is frustrating.

Of course there is the understanding that you are paying for “up to” the speed capacity you bought, meaning it is not guaranteed. And with ASTCA now seriously entering the ‘data package’ delivery service — it becomes important to understand what both providers can legally sell to us; and what it cannot ask us to pay for… ra)

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