Portal:Net Neutrality/What

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Non Net Neutrality illustrated

Net neutrality! This rather misunderstood term forms the essence of the net as we have come to know and love it. In the numerical realm, net neutrality ensures free competition, innovation and fundamental liberties and rights. Until now net neutrality has been the default state of affairs - for technical as well as for economic reasons. However, net neutrality is under threat from network operators that see commercial opportunity in controlling the flow of information through their networks.

When you send a package in the post the postal service doesn't open the package to take a look at the contents to find out who has sent the package, nor to ascertain by what route they would prefer to deliver it by and how fast. The role of the postal service is limited to delivering your package. The service can thereby considered to be 'neutral' with regard to sender, recipient and content.

The same applies to the internet: as long as there is no discrimination on the basis of the sender, recipient or content of the information being sent, the internet can be said to be neutral - hence net neutrality. Net operators do not get to decide which service, application or information is prioritised on the basis of the content. This principle forms the basis of the internet.

Both in the European Union and the United States of America, Net Neutrality has recently been loosing ground against the financial interests of broadband operators and application providers. Corporations are abusing the ambiguity around the term and it is therefore important that we do not loose sight of the importance of preventing discrimination on the basis of content, sender or recipient.

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