The Dutch Parliament has just passed a Net Neutrality bill - On the back of the fact that KPN was conducting deep packet inspection (DPI) in order to determine specific usage of its Internet traffic.
Earlier this year, KPN decided that they would charge extra for the usage of Skype after seeing that more users were using Skype and other VOIP apps plus falling revenue in the usage of traditional text and phone calls. It’s cheaper to use SKYPE or Whats App etc rather than incur the cost of texting and calling directly.
However, Vodafone warned that passing net neutrality would result in higher costs to the consumers as now they will just up the rates across all data services. Paying for a gigabyte of data monthly will now cost €50 in the next few months instead of the €20 rate that KPN users see today.
In the UK they have the advantage of a choice of mobile and fixed providers as well as various options for broadband and mobile pricing but, British Telecom has admitted testing technology from Phorm without their customers’ knowledge or consent.
A heavy VOIP user can choose to pay more and receive more bandwidth in return while a light email user can pay less for a perfectly good service.
Because ISPs route all of their customers traffic, they are able to monitor web-browsing habits in a very detailed way allowing them to gain information about their customers’ interests, which can be used by companies specialising in targeted advertising or used to prioritise a customers traffic over anothers.
DPI stifles innovation and competition & I don’t believe that it is in the public interest for Google and Microsoft to have advantages over Joe-the-Entrepreneur with the next-big-thing-product?
DPI is nothing short of an unacceptable invasion of people and businesses’ freedom and privacy. What I use my electricity for and who I speak to on the phone is my business and mine alone. Similarly what I use bits and bytes for is also my private business and operators have no business looking over my shoulder to see what I am up to or allow operators to charge me more for using VOIP type apps (Skype).
The concept of network neutrality predates the current Internet-focused debate, since the beginning of the age of the telegraph - In 1860, a US federal law (Pacific Telegraph Act of 1860) was passed to subsidise a telegraph line, stating that:
messages received from any individual, company, or corporation, or from any telegraph lines connecting with this line at either of its termini, shall be impartially transmitted in the order of their reception, excepting that the dispatches of the government shall have priority...
An act to facilitate communication between the Atlantic and Pacific states by electric telegraph, June 16, 1860.
And let’s not forget that in 1888, Almon Brown Strowger invented the automated telephone exchange to bypass non-neutral telephone operators who redirected calls for profit.
Network neutrality is the principle that Internet users should be in control of what content they view and what applications they use on the Internet. The Internet has operated according to this neutrality principle since its earliest days... Fundamentally, net neutrality is about equal access to the Internet. In our view, the broadband carriers should not be permitted to use their market power to discriminate against competing applications or content. Just as telephone companies are not permitted to tell consumers who they can call or what they can say, broadband carriers should not be allowed to use their market power to control activity online.
· Guide to Net Neutrality for Google Users
We have this tool that is called the Internet - a hugh library full of data, this wonderful resource that is open & free with just a huge wealth of information which has in some cases steered our development, allows communication of ideas, theories on a global level - it has enabled or accelerated new forms of human interactions through instant messaging, Internet forums, and social networking.
The internet has reached into virtually every aspect of modern human life. As of 2009, an estimated quarter of Earth’s population used the services of the Internet.
We’ve seen the awesome power this can have in helping mount campaigns, protests, revolutions, or calling Governments to heal.
The Internet has no centralized governance in either technological implementation or policies for access and usage - Neutral in every way & that’s why it is so important that no one entity/person/government control the internet which is why the ISP’s are acting like gatekeepers - many provide trouble-free service but providers are able to slow down or block online activities such as file-sharing others profit from your typos by redirecting you to advertising pages they own.
Visit the ICSI Netalyzr website and click “start analysis”. The site will take a few minutes to probe your internet connection. When it’s done you will see whether certain types of traffic are being interfered with. You will also learn about the steps your ISP is – or is not – taking to ensure that your connection is fast and is not being abused by spammers.
The results will be displayed on the institute’s website. For a less technical explanation of the tests, see the New Scientist results page.
The more people take the test, the more we will learn about the internet’s gatekeepers & help keep it open & Neutral.