The network, as a tool for providing a wide variety of information content and communication facilities for the global computer, consists of an Internet using standardized communications. PLATO was the first computer-assisted teaching system. Com is a social networking service based on the social networking contact model. There are three degrees including first, second and third degrees where users can send messages and bulletin board items to others and see their connections to other users on the site. The development of social media is very fast, the dissemination of information has become extensive and rapid. Users create online identities and share information, ideas and other content such as video through online communication such as social networking sites. It is obvious that the Internet has developed rapidly in the past decades. As a result, online regulation has become an even more heated debate. With the development of network regulation, net neutrality also plays an important role in the network. This paper attempts to explore the online regulatory concept of net neutrality, its historical background and whether it should be applicable to Australia.
Definition and History of Net Neutrality
Treating Internet traffic equally is the main feature of net neutrality. The principle of net neutrality is set to encourage Internet Service Provider (ISP) to approach the access of all sites, content and applications without any limitations. If principles really apply under this circumstance, there will be no reason for internet service providers to purposefully block or slow down any web content on the Internet. Gaining knowledge and information from open sources is a basic right. It can be agreed that the importance of releasing potential of each team and encouraging innovation, cannot be ignored.
Law professor Tim Wu of Columbia University developed the term “net neutrality” in an online discrimination paper in 2003 (Wu, 2003). Net neutrality is the standards, or blue- prints, that enable interoperability among Internet devices. Once implemented in products, net neutrality can also have direct pub- lic interest implications and serve as sites of conflict over competing economic and social interests. Examining the discarded alternatives to entrenched standards helps uncover the values and interests at stake in their development and selection. Net neutrality also have a conservative momentum. Once widely implemented, considerable economic or social forces are necessary to displace entrenched standards. The process of developing net neutrality is a venerable task of Internet governance. They are the fundamental rules that enable devices to exchange information. Rules require agreements and the process of agreeing involves people, procedures, norms, time, money, knowledge and culture. Protocols can initially seem difficult to understand because they are not visible to Internet users in the same way content and applications are visible (Verhulst, 2000).
After the proposal of net neutrality, the opening of Internet standards that provide interoperability was a major sociotechnical transformation that can be taken for granted. Beginning with U.S. government funding and through the transition to primarily private industry–driven standardization, the digital public sphere has provided ever more interconnectivity, regardless of what device, email system, or operating system an individual uses. There are special qualities for the self-regulation of the Internet. It is a product originated in the complexed system of the industry. Devices of computers, servers and telecommunications are important aspects for the access of flexible, opened and convenient communication. When going deeper into net neutrality, the term ‘common carriers’ can be heard which is frequently abandoned. The ancient Rome is where ‘common carrier’ concept originates in. At the earliest time of the sovereignty establishment, services and businesses sectors were admitted to attribute to how the nation works, and a law shall be passed to ensure the equal rights of every Rome. In accordance with this concept, it is necessary for businesses or service providers to offer service to society at large instead of choosing their preferred targets. In return, these providers receive legal benefits. The grant for the access to public property maybe one example. The self-regulation regarding content is a complexed issue on the Internet.
The issue will have become worse when the Internet’s transnational function, stakeholder interest of a new thing, the diversity of this new thing and how this new thing is used have been discussed. The internet is experiencing a fast period of growth, but along with the institutional, technological and social challenge may face. Government departments are even beginning to wonder whether Internet can overcome these challenges, while it has the ability to formulate long-term directions for social development (Vranaki, 2016).
Net Neutrality in Politics
Australia should politically accept net neutrality. Argentina, Brazile, Japan and others are countries which the net neutrality principle has been implemented. From the point of political view, it takes the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of USA years to attempt to forcefully implement net neutrality. The broadband providers experienced a bunch of legal failures, and this is mainly the reason that FCC passed a comprehensive net neutrality order in 2015. At the end of 2017, the FCC controlled by the Republican cancelled the order which gives the broadband providers unlimited power to block or throttle any ‘unstable’ content (Schaffarczyk, 2014). Net neutrality also requires ISPs not to create a ‘green lane‘ for some data traffic while setting up heavy restrictions of some data from a rival or having positions that the content cannot be politically accepted. For example, Telstra has a big stake in Foxtel, which gives it huge influence over the telecommunications (Daly, 2016). If it blocks some information, it might have a negative effect on the spread of culture. Moreover, this can be reflected with the case of YouTube as well. YouTube in some countries is unable to be watched. All connections and data visiting are blocked which have entered the opposite side of net neutrality.
Australia should maintain the Internet open because the level playing field is the core of net neutrality. Companies, regardless of their sizes, all have the opportunity to become successful online. The missing of net neutrality will lead to monopolistic interest only for powerful enterprises. Their data can be flowed at the fastest speed, while other competitors are left behind and comment ‘What is wrong with this shitty network?’ Additionally, Consumer Law is a strong consumer protection law in Australia which is designed to help protect consumers. Any behaviors regarding involving in anti-competitive events by a large carrier such as restricting the service from the competitor will be rewarded serious lawsuits by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
Net Neutrality in Economic Market
Network neutrality is appropriate for Australia’s economic market. The supporters of net neutrality have debated that innovation will take place if the internet is maintained as an open playing field from an economic market perspective. If the network providers ‘favor one source against another’, there will be a market without vividness, limiting the development of both companies and further technologies (Greenstein, Pietz & Valletti, 2016). An open internet can be used to assist teams globally. For example, doctors who need targeted information to help the patient do the surgery or start-up companies which need useful tools to analyze the current condition of the market competition, will be benefited from an open internet. If a level playing field is not existed, very few people will step closer to the access of knowledge and opportunity. The effectiveness of net neutrality then appears, which guide us to ‘play as a team’. By using this way to manage, internet service providers have maximum capacity of the expensive infrastructure, and guarantee that the relative ‘ungrouped’ netizens will not be affected by other massive investors using peer to peer apps such as Paxful of the Internet.
Intensive competition happens in Australia. The free use of Telstra ADSL network by other competitors has provided public user with more options of which broadband providers that they prefer (DeNardis, 2014). It also releases the possibility that if the internet service is banned, switching will not be an issue. National Broadband Network is scheduled as part of the plan. Once being arranged, NBN householders can choose a wide range of providers. Net neutrality is an honorable mission to achieve and there is already a vivid phenomenon of the Australian internet service provider market. Content with unlimited access will eventually benefit the consumer rather than enforcing them to accept the impurity clause. Therefore, net neutrality is appropriate for Australia. It can not only safeguard users’ right, but also enable Internet service providers to compete fairly in the economic market.
Net neutrality is proposed to allow users to view all web content without restrictions. It has been a long history since its introduction in 2003 and has been followed by many different groups.It can be said that the net neutrality has brought a lot of positive aspects to the internet regulation and recognized by more countries in the world. A lot of countries, due to various ‘unstable’ factors, set up heavy limitations to the access of Internet. But in Australia, people should have the political right to freely visit sites and express their views online. It also offers the netizen more options to switch to another providers without any issue. Net neutrality would also support the local economy has encouraged more relevant internet providers to compete with fairness. Apart from this, social cultural issue is also significant. When people from different race, culture and countries live together, the net neutrality principle admittedly allow them to free speech and any culture will not be discriminated in any form, which is undoubtedly precious to the peaceful development of the society.
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