Consumers in the UK should stay vigilantby Hannah Jane Parkinson / January 23, 2018 / Leave a comment
Published in February 2018 issue of Prospect Magazine
“Net neutrality” isn’t exactly a phrase to set the pulse racing, and perhaps that’s partly why so few Americans have paid attention to its threatened status. Now, it might be too late.
Some people assume net neutrality is difficult to understand—which to be fair much of tech is—but it’s a relatively simple concept. Essentially, it is the practice of equality of the internet. It means internet services providers (ISPs) must treat all data on the internet, and consumers, the same way. That is, ISPs (such as Comcast and Verizon in the United States and Virgin and BT in the UK) cannot serve certain content at a faster speed than other content; they cannot charge more for certain content; they cannot preference content; they cannot charge users more for using certain equipment or applications. They cannot, in other words, use technical tricks to push us towards or away from certain sites, for commercial reasons or any other whim.