What's wrong with net-neutrality regulations

Tech and business writer Jeremy Sutter explains the impact of net-neutrality regulations

28Jun

Net-neutrality has been the center of debate since 2015 when the first regulations were passed. It states that internet service providers are required to offer equal access to all online content without implementing any form of censorship. Supporters of net-neutrality want those laws enforced because they fear that broadband providers will monopolize sections of the internet and proceed to restrict traffic through discriminatory policies. They strongly believe that all traffic should be treated equally regardless of the source.                                                                 

Why centralized net-neutrality is counterproductive

On the contrary, government regulations seldom ensure fairness among the populace due to it being a centralized power that makes all the decisions. Any form of central planning is prone to corruption by personal interests. Therefore, it would interfere with supply and demand of web-based services as determined by the internet marketplace. Ideally, a free marketplace would give internet users access to any network provider they choose, depending on the quality of service plans offered, the connection speed, or current prices. From an economic standpoint, this makes complete sense because the consumers are the ones driving the market.


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Why net-neutrality is an economic issue

That's why they strongly oppose passing laws on net-neutrality. Otherwise, everyone will be forced to follow what the FCC considers fairness, using a series of arbitrary standards. Basically, a few people in power cannot accurately represent everyone who uses the internet. Ultimately, it is the consumers who are driving the economy forward, in favor of advancing technology and changes to how people communicate. The economic problems must be solved through a decentralized process. If the FCC were put in charge of the internet, then this would stifle innovation and prevent producers from responding to consumer behavior in the name of optimizing production.

Unfortunately, the experts will always insist that they know what's best for consumers and producers alike. Despite conducting studies in order to collect empirical data, these experts cannot replicate many real-world factors. It's doubtful the FCC can understand how the internet operates as a whole. The issue has little to do with getting the right people in charge of net neutrality. You also have to recognize the possibility of corporate lobbying in pushing for political interests. Think about the potential implications of ISPs restricting the nature of content people are allowed to see. Other countries may soon follow suit.

What happens if net-neutrality is repealed

In terms of IT and web development, companies have to be mindful of what type of content they are permitted to display in case it sets off the ISP "gatekeepers" of the internet. It can be problematic for network investors too since they must pay the service providers for access to their target customers. Some lobbyists want to repeal net-neutrality by placing limits on network capacity per customer or moving towards unlimited data plans. But this will reduce flexibility for many businesses that rely on the internet to draw in clients. The danger lies in that ISPs can exclude certain companies or organizations from their network entirely.

How net-neutrality affects web design

But what does this have to do with choosing the best language for web development? The loss of net-neutrality means web developers will face pressure against designing content that is deemed too controversial. They would lose the creative freedom to create sites for clients who need their website to stay uncensored. Blocking and discrimination against certain businesses will run rampant, making websites more expensive to host on Squarespace or other platforms. Many small businesses and cultural hobbyists could end up losing their online presence altogether. If businesses want their sites to load faster, they can be forced to pay a higher fee.

The bottom line is, web developers are going to lose a lot of clients because their design elements cause pages to load too slow. Also, many discount host providers will go out of business. There won't be any room for creativity in animations or layouts, leading to a decline in profits for the web designer. Therefore, they are limited in learning only the most widely-used programming languages such as Javascript, Swift, or Python.

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