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What are the positions on net neutrality? Show more Show less
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Net neutrality is the idea that internet providers must not treat websites differently. All websites, irrespective of their content, equipment, or location must be treated with the same priority and speed. For net neutrality’s proponents, it is essential for preserving the internet’s commitment to information sharing and the establishment of a level playing field for all participants, but what are the pros and cons of net neutrality?

Net neutrality is good Show more Show less

Net neutrality prevents internet providers from becoming the gatekeepers of competition, information, and morality in the digital space.
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Net neutrality promotes competition

Net neutrality ensures a level playing field between companies operating online.

Context

Without net neutrality, companies with more resources would gain an unfair edge on smaller startups online. This would create an uneven playing field, which is bad for competition and consumers.

The Argument

Without net neutrality, there would be nothing to stop a company like YouTube, with deep pockets, from paying telecommunications firms to ensure that their content is delivered faster than their competitors online. This would make it even more difficult for smaller players in the video hosting space to compete with giants like YouTube. Net neutrality helps ensure that smaller businesses enter a level playing field online. Their products and services are discoverable and delivered online at the same quality as existing corporations.[1] Without net neutrality, YouTube itself wouldn’t have got off the ground. When it entered the digital video hosting sector, Google Videos was the major player. If Google had been allowed to use its financial clout to pay internet providers for preferential treatment on their networks, YouTube would have been unable to compete. It was only due to net neutrality that YouTube was able to offer a comparable service and draw users to its platform.[2]

Counter arguments

Net neutrality may promote competition in some industries, but it does the opposite in the telecommunications sector. With all internet service providers forced to adopt a hands-off approach, there is no room to roll out new features and pricing models. The telecommunications industry, thanks to government interference, is among the least competitive industries. 56 million households in the US alone have no choice over their broadband service provider. [3]

Proponents

Framing

Competition is always good. Monopolies are always bad. Policies that promote competition are therefore good.

Premises

[P1] Competition is good. [P2] Net neutrality promotes competition. [P3] Therefore, net neutrality is good.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] Net neutrality doesn't promote competition in every sector.

References

  1. https://www.itpro.co.uk/strategy/28115/the-pros-and-cons-of-net-neutrality
  2. http://thehill.com/policy/technology/331012-what-killing-net-neutrality-means-for-the-internet
  3. https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2017/06/50-million-us-homes-have-only-one-25mbps-internet-provider-or-none-at-all/

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This page was last edited on Friday, 6 Mar 2020 at 11:28 UTC

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