In the United States, there are a set of laws that are centered around something called “Net Neutrality.” The definition of Net Neutrality is that Internet Service Providers such as Telstra and Comcast can’t censor or filter information.
Nor can they prioritize particular types of information over others. In this case, they can’t censor information for, say, other Internet Service Providers. This is what “Net Neutrality” refers to.
In the United States, there is a fight going on. A fight over Net Neutrality. Supporters of Net Neutrality think that if Net Neutrality is dismantled, Internet Service Providers will do two things. One, they will censor information at the whims of high bidders and large corporations.
Two, it will no longer be a free and open market. Instead, only the big fish will thrive in a much smaller pond.
Take a look at television. Television is very much a one-way street. You can receive information. Information from different networks and advertisers and other organizations. With television, only the big corporations can get their message broadcast.
Unless it’s a local network with a small audience, a small business or company can’t get their commercial broadcast.
Supporters of Net Neutrality feel that, if Net Neutrality is dismantled, then The Internet will turn into a glorified version of television.
What America Is Doing About It
A man named Ajit Pai runs something known as the FCC. Federal Communications Commission. His proposal is straightforward. We allow Internet Service Providers to voluntarily uphold Net Neutrality laws.
What this means is that an Internet Service Provider can choose to follow those rules. And consumers will know which provider is and is not following those rules. It’s all voluntary, but, if passed, this will empower consumers.
So, What Does Net Neutrality Mean For You?
Do you want to know something funny? Here. In Australia, there is no Net Neutrality. There are no rules that govern whether or not Internet Service Providers can censor or filter information. There is no Net Neutrality debate.
So, why is The Internet the way it is here? Why isn’t it different? There are two reasons for this.
One, there is a lot of competition between Internet Service Providers.
In America, there is very little competition between the few providers that exist. In Australia, however, there is a diverse selection of vendors. If one provider does something that you don’t like, you can always switch to another one.
Two, do you know what the A.C.C.C. is? The Australian Competition And Consumer Commission is a statutory authority.
Here is the definition of a “regulatory authority.” A body set up by law which is authorised to enforce legislation on behalf of the relevant country or state.
It's an agency that can make and enforce certain rules. The A.C.C.C. has stringent laws. If an Internet Service Provider were to censor information about another Internet Service Provider, they would be fined heavily.
In the end, for Australians, this doesn’t affect you. The legislation is in place that will protect you from censorship and the filtering of information.