TORONTO : HISTORICALLY TIME TO NOT FEAR the loss of Net Neutrality Just end last year, The Federal Communication Commission began planning to jettison its network neutrality rules, and many Americans went distraught.

Such a move a move the Electronics Frontier Foundation warned :

"Invites a future where only the largest internet, cable and telephone companies survive, while every start-up, small business and new innovator is crowded out - and the voices of nonprofits and ordinary individuals are suppressed."

Critics worry that getting rid of neutrality regulation will lead to a "two-tier" internet : Internet service providers will start charging fees to websites and apps, and slow down or block the sites that  don't pay up.

As a result, users will have unfettered access to only part of the Internet, with the rest either inaccessible or slow.

Those fears are vastly overblown.

It's true that in the past, some service providers have threatened to charge websites. In 2005, during a previous phase in the net neutrality debate, the chief executive of  SBC Communications said.

"Now what they would like to do is use my pipes for free, but I ain't going to let them do that because we have spent this capital and we have to have a return on it."

Service providers have also blocked sites that competed with their own services.

In 2004, the Madison River Telephone Company in North Carolina blocked Vonage to protect its own phone service from competition; it was fined by the FCC, for violating Network Neutrality rules.

In 2012, AT & T let only some of its customers use the phone app FaceTime : after there were complaints to the  F.C.C.  it allowed all customers to use it.

The Honor and Serving of the latest Global Operational Research on Net Neutrality continues. The World Students Society thanks author Ken Engelhart.


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