Net neutrality allows smaller businesses to rise in the ranks of the current ISP market without having to compete with strong monopolies that dominate society. Net neutrality as a concept is inherently libertarian, as it ensures freedom from censorship, as well as ensures that one can do whatever they want on the internet without fear of being stopped or throttled.
Net neutrality is loosely defined as the principle that internet service providers shouldn’t be allowed to restrict or throttle internet access. As well as preventing the restriction of internet access, net neutrality put ISPs (internet service providers) into “Title II” communications group, precisely the “common carriers” category. Putting ISPs into this category allows for bandwidth to be regulated, or allows it to not be throttled based on internet usage. Net neutrality also ensures that ISPs are held accountable for the things they do, and doesn’t allow ISPs to secretly do things.
Organizations such as Netflix were strong supporters of net neutrality when the topic first arose, but as of recent have been relatively quiet, one can assume that they realized it could harm them. Net neutrality would prevent businesses from being able to create a monopoly on certain websites as they could prevent ISPs from being paid out to throttle websites that rival places like Netflix, Google, and others. With this in mind, small businesses would be snuffed out because they couldn’t hold a place in the market due to larger businesses holding such strong monopolies.
Rolling back net neutrality would only open the door for more crony capitalism, and would allow businesses like ComCast to legally prevent internet access for any reason they choose. ISPs would legally be allowed to put premiums on anything they deem necessary, and would have no legal repercussion for making it difficult for one to continue watching their favourite porn, watching things on their favourite small time streaming site, or reading things on their favourite independent news sources like Being Libertarian. Not only would it make it more difficult, but would make it so that the things they can access would cost a fortune.
The main argument against net neutrality is that it is the government attempting to regulate more of one’s life.
At the moment we are looking at government or private organization controlling us, and in this case government looks more promising. Having zero regulation on ISPs allows them to lie, throttle, and be generally sly without repercussion. Allowing the government to have minor control over ISPs would merely prevent the ISPs from hiding and abusing power as easily, and would help break up monopolies on the current market. Net neutrality isn’t suggesting that the government should have a significant amount of control over the market, but that ISPs shouldn’t be able to determine the market.
Net neutrality prevents ISPs from being paid out by big businesses, prevents them from shortening bandwidth because they deem it necessary, and prevents them from putting premiums on internet services. Net neutrality isn’t the perfect choice, but is the much lesser of two evils in this situation, and would help ensure freedom.
* Rhys Boekelheide is 16 years old and runs the podcast “Your Opinion Sucks”. He’s been interested politics for years, and has been writing about them for almost as long.