Net Neutrality

Babylon Stalling, Is It Our Problem Though? Net Neutrality and Us

 

What John Oliver improvised towards the end of these 40 seconds is the core of what many dissenters of the proposal to dispose of net neutrality are concerned with. But before going further let’s explore the essence of what net neutrality is. It is essentially a law that governs the way internet service providers (ISPs) treat the data of both consumers and producers of data on the internet. They are the ones that ones that handle all internet traffic. From the governments to the online shopping addict down the road.

A few points that can be gleaned from what Jamie Oliver said:

  • An abolishing of net neutrality means big companies will be the only ones able to afford to pay for premium services from internet service providers(ISPs), and that;
  • ISPs could also slow down/censor/block content from their competitors, although from a legal standpoint this is questionable, as it may be a hamper some from;
  • Net neutrality allowed Facebook to dominate Myspace and Craigslist. The principle from this is that an end to net neutrality would mean that start-ups would have a harder time overtaking competitors which would create monopolies and advantage the already rich companies. Possibly leading to biased, less nuanced content.

An argument from proponents of the proposal, however, argue that big companies owe the ISPs more money due to the greater traffic behind their services which cost the ISPs more money to process. This does make sense but then it makes much sense as taxing the rich more. Which doesn’t make sense to an old rich white man? But it certainly makes more sense to me at least because I believe in shit being as cheap as possible.

Yeah. I’m a cheap nigga. Fight me.

All this, in turn, could push costs for platforms like Apple Music or Amazon primarily in America though. There is a case for the possibility of these companies increasing prices over their global network, however, this is where the gnashy bit comes in:

The rest of the world doesn’t use ISPs based in America. The rest of the world has LANs which can keep net neutrality intact, thereby allowing businesses, organizations, and people to access the internet without any premium on knowledge or blockades on fringe content.

A LAN is a local area network which consists of an interconnection of internet users in the same geographical location.

For example, many ‘lobbies’ in online gaming consist of people in the same neighborhood, city and even continent. Interestingly an example of a LAN is Super Janet, the name of the UK’s LAN. The point to be made from this is that the rest of the world could use this as a chance to innovate its own relationship with the internet.

This would mean that young Africans would have to step up to the plate and advance the digital and technological culture in Africa, for Africans. We’d need to develop our own internet architecture, our own content, own satellites, our own servers and so on and so forth, not to forget that we could still rely on other developed world websites and services.

It is true that the world could develop problems and financial burdens that an end to net neutrality in America would bring. Indeed, we can almost certainly say the internet is American by definition and any heavy architectural changes they make to the internet will possibly have an adverse effect on the way the rest of the world uses the internet. But there is hope still, corporations and activists alike are coming together to protest the proposal. And for good reason, net neutrality is something that has allowed the internet to flourish in its beautiful madness. Allowing people to regulate the internet through making you pay more for what you want to see is the type of commodification and hyperinflation of our happiness that capitalism and neoliberalism get hard for.

You can watch the entirety of the above-embedded video for an entertaining picture of the issue.

Kwame Barning

Kwame is an undergraduate law student in his final year. He is in a constant state of creative evolution, and as a musician his primary choice of medium is words. His topics of interest are often grandoise, "tout le monde" philosophy, covering political, cultural and historical themes.
His life's work is to see the restoration and development of Africa.
He often leaves you with more questions than answers.

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