The Internet has joined the road and rail networks, the postal system and the global telephone network as a vital communications system; particularly in developed countries. The principle known as ‘Network Neutrality’ allows Internet users to access any web content or applications they choose, without restriction or limitation. This is taken for granted by the billions of people who access the Internet worldwide. However a concerning concept arose a few years ago and it is yet unresolved. Carriers would like to be able to charge for tiered network service – and this will have global implications if it succeeds. This report provides an overview and analysis of the net neutrality debate, with a focus on developments in Europe and USA.
It must be recognised that the importance of infrastructure is that it is a national utility that will deliver social and economic benefits beyond telco profits and for this reason net neutrality must be instilled; in May 2012 the Dutch Parliament passed the world’s first net neutrality legislation, affecting mobile and fixed internet networks.