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It’s Time We Had a Conversation About Net Neutrality

Credit: Henrik5000/iStockphoto

Credit: Henrik5000/iStockphoto

By Matthew Rimmer

Net neutrality is more than an issue about consumer internet access and speeds. It also has implications for freedom of speech, competition and innovation.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Network neutrality started out as a philosophical concept to prevent broadband providers from blocking, throttling or slowing internet services to further their own commercial interests. While former US President Barack Obama’s administration introduced clear bright-line rules to protect consumers from broadband discrimination, the Trump administration plans to dismantle these regulations as part of its deregulation agenda.

There are many benefits to be derived from network neutrality. A free and open internet promotes consumer rights, innovation, competition, and freedom of expression. Network neutrality ensures that consumer rights are not undermined by internet service providers (ISPs), ensuring that consumers do not suffer a dystopia of slow lanes and fast-paid lanes on the internet.

Network neutrality helps ensure that the internet is a free and open platform that supports innovation. In particular, it ensures that start-up companies and new market entrants have an equal playing field. Without such protection for competition, ISPs could use their role as gatekeepers to reinforce their monopolies.

Network neutrality also plays an important role in freedom of speech. The American Civil Liberties Union has argued: “As information technology advances apace, the meaningful exercise of our constitutional rights – including the freedoms of speech,...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.