What is Net Neutrality? A popular defination is “Net Nutrality is the principle that Internet service providers should treat all data on the Internet equally, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode of communication.

Net neutrality is a new and fuzzy area for most developing countries. There is no policy on Net Neutrality in most of them. Leaving such critical policies to self-regulation is a recipe for chaos where one day citizens will be taken hostage by ISPs. The ISPs can change their business model and lease data super highways to the highest bidders. This is not something new, it has happened elsewhere. The US on demand video streaming company Netflix, and Comcast, one of the leading ISPs had an unholy union where they signed an agreement for Comcast to offer preferential treatment to Netflix data, thus offering Netflix customers’ faster speeds. This in essence would stifle the completion.

Another popular case of Net Neutrality was when Google started paying Orange for using Orange’s infrastructure to reach the Africa Market.  The argument by Orange was, they have made substantial investment in infrastructure in Africa while Google have the majority of users consuming the resource through different services (Youtube, Gmail, google.com, Android store).  Orange took this advantage because there is virtually no Net Neutrality laws in Africa.

Simply put, without Net Neutrality, the carrier sets toll stations for the data providers to pay before passing through. Since Orange and Google has setup the precedence, how can we be sure others will not follow suite?


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