Since its inception, streaming media has thrived on the idea of net neutrality, i.e., all Internet traffic is treated equally. However, a recent court ruling has changed everything. Now the ISPs are better positioned to charge the video streaming companies like Amazon.com, YouTube, and Google to charge them higher for greater bandwidth.
Major Internet companies worldwide have been hit hard by the recent ruling. Major streaming media companies like Netflix will have to raise their expenses by quite a few million dollars. Now, as the court ruling brings down the curtain on an era of preferential treatment to the Internet biggies, tougher times lie ahead for both the providers as well as the consumers.
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What exactly is net neutrality?
Net neutrality is a concept where all Internet-based content is treated equally, irrespective of its popularity. Thus, the bigger players in the market are playing ground with the smallest of the Internet companies. Thus, if you have purchased a package with 3.2 Mbps download speed from your Internet Service Provider (ISP), all the websites would be loaded under the same cap. Thus file downloads or web browsing, or online games will be transferring data at the same speed as you have subscribed for.
What are the effects of net neutrality on customers?
The effects of net neutrality will not change anything in principle, but you and I, as customers, will have to dole out higher prices for availing services like IPTV. In the absence of net neutrality, we might be facing a situation where the smaller players in the market will face a stiff challenge from the bigger fishes that enjoy a larger market share. With net neutrality in force, customers will witness a huge change in the way they avail information or entertainment and even pay higher for the services.
Supporters of net neutrality Vs Naysayers
The biggest net neutrality supporters are the smaller Internet companies, human rights organizations, and customer advocates. They are against preferential treatment to larger companies like Amazon, Netflix, YouTube, etc. They are advocates of net neutrality wherein all the companies providing Internet services get an equal opportunity for bandwidth sharing and data transfer rates.
On the other hand, we have the major players voicing their arguments about net neutrality’s negative impact. These people are worried about losing out on their customers and do not wish to be treated at par with Internet companies that have just blossomed. Even Internet service providers like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast are opposed to net neutrality. These leading ISPs believe that they can provide better services by efficient cost management without the use of net neutrality regulations.
Who are the biggest gainers of net neutrality?
Undoubtedly it is the smaller Internet companies and consumers who come out as the biggest gainers. The smaller companies will be able to compete better with the larger intent companies, and thus the market competition would increase the service quality. On the other hand, the customers will be able to avail of new and better products because a healthy market competition would lead to improved services.
The best thing about net neutrality regulations is that it will help the smaller companies gain footholds in the market and, at the same time, come up with innovative solutions. We must always remember that the coolest ideas are seldom brought to the market by the bigger companies – smaller companies thrive on their ability to come up with something new now and then.