Streaming media, since the time of its inception, has thrived on the idea of net neutrality i.e. all Internet traffic is treated equally. However, a recent court ruling has changed everything and now the ISPs are in a better position to charge the video streaming companies like Amazon.com, YouTube and Google can charge them higher for using greater bandwidth.
Major Internet companies across the world have been hit hard by the recent ruling and major streaming media companies like Netflix will have raise their expenses by quite a few million dollars. Now, as the court ruling brings down the curtain on an era of preferential treatment to the Internet biggies, tougher times lie ahead for both the providers as well as the consumers.
What exactly is net neutrality?
Net neutrality is a concept where all Internet-based content is treated equally, irrespective of their popularity. Thus, the bigger players in the market are on a level playing ground with the smallest of the Internet companies. Thus, if you have purchased a package with 3.2 Mbps download speed from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) then all the websites would be loaded under the same cap. Thus file downloads or web browsing or online games will be transferring data at the same speed as you have subscribed for.
What are the effects of net neutrality on customers?
The effects of net neutrality will not change anything in principle but you and me as customers will have to dole out a higher prices for availing services like IPTV. In the absence of net neutrality we might be facing a situation where the smaller players in the market will face a stiff challenge from the bigger fishes that enjoy a larger market share. With the net neutrality in force, customers are going to witness a huge change in the way they avail information or entertainment and they will have to even pay higher for the services.
Supporters of net neutrality Vs Naysayers
The biggest supporters of net neutrality are the smaller Internet companies, human rights organizations and customer advocates. They are against the preferential treatment to the larger companies like Amazon, Netflix, YouTube etc. They are advocates of net neutrality wherein all the companies providing Internet services get an equal opportunity when it comes to bandwidth sharing and data transfer rate.
On the other hand we have the major players voicing their arguments of the negative impact of net neutrality. These people are worried about losing out on their customers and do not wish to be treated at par with Internet companies that have just blossomed. Even the Internet service providers like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast are opposed to net neutrality. These leading ISPs are of the belief that without the use of net neutrality regulations, they can provide better services by efficient cost management.
Who are the biggest gainers of net neutrality?
Undoubtedly it is the smaller Internet companies and consumers who come out as the biggest gainers. The smaller companies will be able to compete better with the larger intent companies and thus the market competition would result in an increase in the service quality. On the other hand the customers will be able to avail new and better products because a healthy market competition would lead to development of improved services.
The best thing about net neutrality regulations is that it will help the smaller companies gain footholds in the market and at the same time come up with innovative solutions. We must always remember that the coolest ideas are seldom brought to the market by the bigger companies – smaller companies thrive on their ability to come up with something new every now and then.