Why do we need Net Neutrality?
This principle of Net Neutrality such as we know it today is fundamental for the protection of essential values of our societies:
- The free-market economy
If an Internet provider infringe on Net Neutrality, he can very easily favor his services with regard to those of his competitors. For example, in France, 3 operators "forbid" their "mobile internet's" customers to use voice over IP software (eg Skype), so forcing them to pay their national and international communications to the (high) price rates of their networks. Still recently, no operator proposed alternative alternative in this situation. These practices, fundamentally anti-competitive, are harmful for consumers, economic growth and innovation.
- The innovation
Since its creation, Internet bases on and develops thanks to its users. "Some guys in a garage" (or in a student room) developed myriads of projects and tiny start-ups, become since major. It's the same of Google, Wikipedia, Skype, eBay, BitTorrent, Twitter and some others essential Internet's elements, used all over the world. This "innovation without licence" is healthy and stimulating. It is beneficial in all the economy. What would it happen then if the next innovative actor had to ask to all operators for the permission to use their networks, or to pay to obtain a normal priority to avoid fatal slowness? Operators see in this question the opportunity to centralize and control Internet, and to increasing their profits.
- Liberties and fundamental rights
The article 11 of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789 proclaims: "The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious of the rights of man. Every citizen may, accordingly, speak, write, and print with freedom, but shall be responsible for such abuses of this freedom as shall be defined by law."
The French Constitutional Council, confirming what the European Parliament has already expressed, enriched the article by declaring:
"As is means of communication and in consideration of the development generalized by communication's services to the online public as well as to the importance taken by these services for the participation in the democratic life and the expression of the ideas and the opinions, this right involves the freedom to reach these services."
Today, Internet is a essential tool of exercise of the freedom of expression and communication for the smooth running of our democracies.
Blogs, microblogs, social networks and instant messagings are so many new methods to participate in the public debate. In a democracy, only a judge must be able to restrict the citizens' fundamental liberties such the freedom of expression. What will it happen if the control of these new tools would be offered to companies?
Why is the Net Neutrality in danger?
Internet is developing non-stop. Until now, when the operators' networks were saturated, they invested in more bandwidth and increased the power of the global infrastructure which we call Internet. With new possibilities anti-competitive and lucrative practices, operators could turn to a new "business model": to invest in the control of what circulates on their networks, rather than to invest in better networks. This model would create conditions justifying themselves perfectly for these policies: "Internet became too slow, we are consequently obliged to control and to attribute priorities on contents, services and applications, for which ones owners are ready to pay more money." Such arguments, accompanied with the mirage of the "Internet's end", were moved forward in the European Parliament's front to to give up Net Neutrality, but they don't hold to in front of technical realities. A less expensive bandwidth and a reasoned management allow the network to grow on the basis of structural investments.