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Is net neutrality good or bad? Show more Show less

Net neutrality is the idea that internet providers must not treat websites differently. All websites, irrespective of their content, equipment, or location must be treated with the same priority and speed. For net neutrality’s proponents, it is essential for preserving the internet’s commitment to information sharing and the establishment of a level playing field for all participants, but what are the pros and cons of net neutrality?

Net neutrality is bad Show more Show less

Net neutrality regulation hinders innovation and development in our internet products, preventing the emergence of more effective practices and more practical business models.
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Net Neutrality is expensive

Legislating and enforcing net neutrality laws is expensive.
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Context

In the absence of a clear problem, a hands-off approach should be adopted in the interests of keeping costs down.

The Argument

Implementing regulation and enforcing it is expensive. Unless there is a very clear problem that needs fixing, it is always best to avoid regulation to avoid unnecessary expenditure. There is no clear problem at the moment. Therefore, it would be in the taxpayer’s interest to avoid incurring the cost of legislation and law enforcement at this stage.[1]

Counter arguments

The only reason there isn’t a problem right now is because telecommunications providers have been kept in check by the threat of net neutrality legislation. As soon as the debate is settled and net neutrality legislation is taken off the table, there will be a very real problem as telecom giants establish themselves as the gatekeepers of information and competition. Regulating in such a way that legislation is only put in place to respond to clear problems is far more expensive than taking a proactive approach. Surely preventing a future problem is preferable to waiting for the problem to occur, bringing with it all the economic and social impacts? It is also misleading to suggest that there is/was no problem before net neutrality. Before net neutrality laws were passed in the US, six internet providers were accused of degrading internet quality and services for companies, deliberately harming the business and the quality of service it could provide to its customers.

Framing

When solving problems, governments must weigh up the size of the problem with the cost of the solution. If a problem is minor, then it does not warrant an expensive solution.

Premises

[P1] Net neutrality is expensive. [P2] The problem it seeks to solve is very minor or non-existent. [P3] Therefore, the cost is not in proportion to the problem. [P4] Therefore, net neutrality is bad.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] Just because it is minor now, doesn't mean it will always be minor. [Rejecting P2] The problem is not minor. It is significant.

Proponents

Further Reading

References

  1. https://qz.com/1140466/all-the-best-arguments-for-repealing-the-federal-communication-commissions-net-neutrality-rules-proposed-by-ajit-pai/

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This page was last edited on Friday, 6 Mar 2020 at 11:43 UTC