(Inter)net neutrality: your voice matters
Migga, Joseph Kizza
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The growing use of the Internet coupled with the rapid growth in applications’ bandwidth requirements are pushing network owners (ISP) to a point where they can no longer treat all Internet content, sites, and platforms equally. This in turn is leading providers to start employing proprietary protocols or to enter into exclusivity agreements with content providers that may reduce the transparency and hence the neutrality of the Internet. Current network neutrality rules forbid network operators to discriminate against third-party applications, content or portals or to exclude them from their network. However, there is mounting evidence that providers are circumventing these rules. The debate has erupted for advocates of more network neutrality regulation to stop this from escalating and there are those opposed to new rules for net neutrality. Those supporting a strong net neutrality argue that in the absence of network neutrality regulation, there is a real threat that network providers will discriminate against independent producers of applications, content or portals or exclude them from their network. This threat then will reduce the amount of innovation in the markets for applications, content and portals at significant costs to society. Those opposed to net neutrality argue that the regulatory tools needed to implement network neutrality are likely to prove ineffective in a world in which communications technologies are increasingly changing. Their most important argument though is that network neutrality threatens to make things worse by reinforcing the sources of market failure in the last mile and dampening incentives to invest in alternative network capacity. The paper explores and advances the debate over network neutrality, highlighting important limitations of both arguments and showing other alternatives.