/en It is the principle that guarantees that all data packets travelling across the Internet must be handled equally, regardless their origin, where they were transmitted or their content. It is as old and complex as the Internet own functioning and it causes a lot of controversy around the world, like every principle of equality. According to this principle the Internet access providers, telephone companies, governments, etcetera, must not distinguish between data, handling all bits in the same way.
Thus, a neutral net is that free of restrictions between any 2 nodes in it, allowing to connect them.
Why is net neutrality so important? As a principle, it guarantees equal content access and avoids a content hierarchy (regarding first class and second class content according provider’s criterion). In some kind of way it preserves privacy since access providers would have to access data to find out who is connecting, to what node and from where. If we could differentiate net traffic then, for instance, competing services could be blocked, different traffic speeds would be offered or advertisements would be linked up to the traffic and not to the content.
How net providers justify net neutrality violation? Their points are based on their need to guarantee unhindered information traffic and to avoid jams, bottlenecks and other related problems. One of their trump cards is the excuse of non net neutrality since if it were applied on wireless networks an acceptable quality of service couldn’t be guaranteed. They claim that to invest in Internet progress wouldn’t be viable due to their high costs without organising and extract new income form networks traffic.
- Chile is the first country to approve a law in favour of net neutrality (July 2010)
- Netherlands approves a net neutrality law, forbidding mobile telephone operators to block or charge for some services.
- Ecuador issued a regulation to force operators to respect net neutrality (2012)
- Brazil approved net neutrality as a principle (2014)
- The European Union voted in favour of this principle (2014)