Giving the Behemoths a Leg Up on the Little Guy

Description: Every year, the internet gets a little less fair. The corporations that run it get a little bigger, their power grows more concentrated, and a bit of their idealism gives way to ruthless pragmatism.


Date:May 3. 2017

This column is nominally about network neutrality, the often sleep-inducing debate about the rules that broadband companies like Comcast and AT&T must follow when managing their networks. But really, this is a story about ballooning corporate power.

At the moment, the internet isn’t in a good place. The Frightful FiveAmazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Alphabet, Google’s parent company — control nearly everything of value in the digital world, including operating systems, app stores, browsers, cloud storage infrastructure, and oceans of data from which to spin new products. A handful of others — Comcast, AT&T, Verizon — control the wired and wireless connections through which all your data flows. People used to talk about the internet as a wonderland for innovative upstarts, but lately the upstarts keep getting clobbered. Today the internet is gigantic corporations, all the way down.  read rest of story

1.  What is Network Neutrality?

2.  What are the pros and cons of network neutrality?


68 thoughts on “Giving the Behemoths a Leg Up on the Little Guy

  1. Anji sanusi

    Network neutrality is the principle that internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring particular products and websites.
    Pros of net neutrality
    – freedom of expression
    -promotes innovation and competition
    -unfettered access
    – no network innovation
    -Pornography and objectionable content thrives
    I read the news recently and came across an article in regards to Bell mobility wanting to use Nafta to completely criminalize piracy. They are hoping that the government support inclusion of criminal copyright in NAFTA, thereby ensuring that it does not go through the same policy and public review as other copyright. I found this interesting simply because I think this is another tactic Bell mobility would like to use to become more profitable. Although this is illegal, I just think this is another way to eliminate “competition” which they absolutely have no idea how to eliminate.

  2. Gage Cherriman

    Net neutrality talks about trying to reign in the wild west motto of the internet in favour of internet providers. If a company has the financial means to buy space on the internet they increase their digital market share by buying out the little guys attention. This would mean the cost of doing business on the internet would sky rocket to get a meaningful return on investment in a company. Net neutrality talks about how the companies that provide internet access to final consumers should not have the right to boost the attention of some companies over others. Some companies could potentially be suppressed or even blocked by service providers to sensor the internet.
    A huge advantage to this would be that big companies like amazon could buy out market space o the internet so that consumers can only see them. From the perspective of amazon this would give them a huge marketing advantage because they would be seen in every home on every device when people were looking to buy. the big disadvantage would be that it is even harder for companies to market themselves if the internet was not feasible as consumers are using the internet more and more. In the context of net neutrality, it supports the everyone gets to have a voice motto of the internet where if you have a digital presence you can be found. The disadvantage would be that if net neutrality continues it will be difficult for large companies to reign in their control of what consumers see.

  3. Franchesca Lee

    1. Network neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favouring or blocking particular products or websites. The rule basically prevents broadband providers from offering preferential treatment to some content online. It will block Comcast from giving, like a speed boost to a streaming video company that can afford to pay over one that cannot. The net neutrality rules have governed the internet for years.

    2. One of the pros of having network neutrality is it can protect the innovators not just from broadband companies, but also from the internet giants that now rule the network. It can also save some companies like “YouTube”. If there are no neutrality rules, the companies might have to do its buy up access to speedy lanes online so that they can prevent their rivals easily from ever working well on people’s phones. So having the network neutrality rules can somewhat keep the internet to be fair.

    The cons are the net neutrality doesn’t have the massive infrastructure and doesn’t have much money to be built, and some companies could pay money to enter the competitive market. It means that Google, Facebook or other giant could give a millions to the broadband company to block a rival’s service. Thus, the net neutrality rules might not be able to keep the fairness in the internet and the companies couldn’t ignore their rivals which makes the neutrality rules to be hard to maintain.

  4. Tasha Silver

    1.What is Network Neutrality?
    The idea that all wireless providers treat all internet traffic equally. What this means is that these providers cannot block access to certain websites or make it quicker or slower to access other websites when it is favoured by that provider. An example of this is that if, theoretically, Facebook decides to invest in Sprint, with a favour. This favour would be that they make their web page load faster than possibly the competitors. Network neutrality will eliminate this process by making it illegal for companies, like Facebook, buying their way into getting a faster network.

    2. What are the pros and cons of network neutrality?
    – This will allow emerging companies not have a larger disadvantage because they are not able to afford this service.
    -It keeps everyone on the same playing field, not allowing companies to get ahead just by throwing money at broadband companies.
    – People will have more freedom on what they put on the internet, without fear that what they say could be blocked from differing views from internet providers.
    -Our internet provider may charge more and more, as without the funding from other companies the cost will be allocated to the consumer.
    -There could be more unethical practices on the internet I.e. the dark web, unethical purchasing and buying, illegal pornography

    It is clear that there are definitely a lot more positives than negatives to making the internet a relatively free place. Most of the cons, like unethical practices and charging more, are bound to happen with or without this type of legislative put in place.

  5. Daniel Wilson

    Network neutrality is where telecom companies are controlled in how they provide content to others. What it basically does is prevent telecom companies who provide internet access from giving preferential treatment to online content providers that can pay more.

    There are both Pros and Cons of network neutrality. The big pro of network neutrality is that it creates a level playing field for all players. The small start-up companies are able to compete against the frightful five because those five behemoths can not pay to speed up users connections to their content. It also prevent these start-ups from having restrictions placed upon them from the telecom companies especially when the software put out there competes with telecom companies like Skype. Network neutrality allows small companies to develop their software and get it to market unhindered which may allow them to surpass what the industry giants already have out on the market.
    There are cons to network neutrality as well. The big con of it is that this practice that allows software developers to run unhindered also limits them as well. The frightful five already have huge advantages with their massive infrastructures which does give them speed advantages. Allowing the start-ups to pay for to boost their speeds could allow them to enter the marketplace as competitive as industry giants. This would allow them to be more recognizable from the start and possibly more profitable. I do believe however that despite this limit network neutrality is far more favorable to startup companies than the alternative.

  6. Amber Christianson

    Network Neutrality is a rule that basically prevents all the broadband providers like Verizon, Comcast and AT&T from offering special or even promotional treatment in the online world, so for example, one can’t get preferred treatment if they have more money than another business. It also keeps anyone from controlling the entire internet!

    Network neutrality keeps a level playing field for everyone. In the article, they talk about how snapchat is still around, and even though facebook has encroached and stolen a few idea’s from snapchat, facebook hasn’t taken over completely. I believe in having this law in place, as it also helps protect consumers from one company taking over, and charging ridiculous prices as a monopoly! If they got rid of network neutrality, companies can take over, prices would sky rocket.It also allows new start up companies a change, as the giant 5 can’t make things slower, or by buying better servers. It also allows a freedom of speech, as one person with an idea would have the same power as facebook= anything is allowed to be posted on the internet.
    One downside of this, is it makes the black market thrive! One of the new ways to hack, is online! Bitcoin is how online currency goes! Bitcoin can be used in buying drugs, hacking software, selling sex,etc. One thing that is good for consumers, bad for business’s is also the online underworld of downloading music, movies, etc! This takes business away from these larger companies, but it does make things cheaper for consumers!!

  7. Shelby Ohno

    Network neutrality is a rule that prevents broadband companies like Comcast giving preferential treatment on some internet content. There is lots of controversy over whether the rule is necessary or not, broadband companies benefit from it by charging fees for priority lanes and the other companies of the internet association (Amazon, Facebook, Google and many other small and large companies) might end up having to pay. When Obama was president, the rules were tightened and now that he is out of office and President Trump has stepped in, there are new proposals hoping to loosen the rule.
    Some pros of network neutrality are to protect new innovators from broadband providers and internet giants. With the network neutrality rules in effect, the internet giants have to to do something to respond to the advances that start ups come up with. Without the rules the giants would have a huge advantage in the ability to access speedy lanes online, this would interfere with new innovators as the bigger developed companies could prevent rivals from getting their software working well on people’s phones. For example, Facebook has brought in the same aspects as Snapchat in an effort to compete but due to the network neutrality rules, Facebook has had a lot more difficult of a job competing. Cons of network neutrality rule include when the laws are in effect start up companies don’t have the opportunity to pay to make their content as fast as any other tech giant.

  8. Matthew Stark

    Network Neutrality
    This term is explained as a principle that allows all companies access to any content or resources on the internet. It doesn’t matter how big or small or what kind of resources they have, they are still allowed access. With this rule, it allows small companies a chance to enter the internet market. They cannot be pushed out but are allowed the chance to compete in the internet market before the big-time companies steal their power and consumers. This allows all companies a chance to show off their new inventions and products on an even playing field.
    The Pros of Network Neutrality
    This gives everyone a fair chance at the internet market. It puts all companies on the same playing field so nobody has the upper hand on the competition or a better chance at stealing consumers. With this feature, it allows anybody to post any information but they still monitor all the information being posted so it isn’t illegal.
    It allows people a freedom of expression as anybody can post any story or blog they choose. It protects company’s ideas as it doesn’t matter if you are a big-time company with millions of dollars or a small one as every company starts on the same foot.
    The Cons
    It allows any person to join the internet and showcase their products. A lot of products and data will be wasted and consumed without the compensation. With this free internet access, it could allow people the chance to upload illegal files and download illegal products that could end up corrupting our internet. With anybody posting any information, it may stir up some drama as some people may find this information disrespectful or offensive. This may result in them being banned from using free internet access.

  9. Daniel Drew

    1. Network Neutrality is a rule that basically prevents all the broadband providers like Verizon, Comcast and AT&T from offering special or even promotional treatment in the online world, pretty much giving the smaller companies a chance to compete with the larger companies. It is a law that is regulated by the government, and it creates good competition for the tech industry. Pretty much making sure that it gives the smaller companies a good start, so that they actually have a chance when they enter the online world.

    2. I believe when it comes to network neutrality there are more pros then cons, because what network neutrality does is it levels out the playing field between the larger companies and the smaller companies. It creates a fair market, and a free market to which is what America is. It gives the smaller companies an opportunity to post online without having any restrictions put on them because they are a small company, and it makes it so that you can put anything online. This creates good competition and can really help out the smaller companies to get their name out and advertise their products. This is a great idea, as you can search up anything and many different options will come up, now this can also be a con to. The web can be very dark sometimes, and you never know what you might find, network neutrality gives the opportunity for anyone to post illegal and inappropriate things on the web, and in many ways this is not good, but I mean there’s nothing you can really do about it considering it is very hard to spot a website or anything on the web that gets taken down.

  10. Audencio

    My interpretation of network neutrality is that it acts as a internet legislation. Companies such as Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google have so much buying power that it would be very difficult for smaller busineeses to compete if it wasn’t for network neutrality. It prevents these big corporation from taking over the internet completely. Network legislation doesn’t allow the big firms to overtake the smaller firms and by rescinding this “legislation” it enables the frightful five to just do that. I believe that network neutrality is critical because it allows for more even competition and allows for more start ups to exist. It would be very unfair to the smaller firms out there to revoke this “legislation”, like the Trump administration seeks. The neutrality forces the broadband companies to maintain some level of consistency regardless of the user. The big five companies already have such influence on the market that allowing them to control the internet completely would be very detrimental to the internet. There are downfalls to the network neutrality like the sites we visit or what can be downloaded for example illegal content such as piracy has become very focused issue. Some might argue that there is very rare improvements in the network because the speeds have to be evenly distributed. But overall maintaining that neutrality is key to keeping the internet a free flowing platform for everyone to use to their own advantage.

  11. Laura

    Network neutrality is a set of rules that help to prevent broadband providers from giving preferred treatment to companies and content online. This means that it would stop a company from being able to buy a faster connection to make their service more desirable to consumers. This would mean that the large companies would get larger and the smaller companies would start to fail. The larger companies would have enough money to purchase the faster connection which would leave the newer, less profitable companies to use the slower connection which could take consumers away form them. With network neutrality this is prevented and allows for startup companies to get in on the same network that the giants are on, giving them a better chance at success.
    The pros of network neutrality are that it keeps the playing field level for all competitors in that one can not use their power to get to the top. The giants are not able to use their profitability against the startups; they can not pay more for the better spot on the servers. But there is also the opposing opinion that it could help the start up companies to buy in on the same level as the giants of the network neutrality rules were lifted. This would give them a competitive advantage because they are starting on the the same level as the giants, if they have enough money. The advantages seem to be greater then the disadvantages in terms of keeping the giants in check to allow for equal opportunity.

  12. Abdulaziz Sani

    1. What is Network Neutrality?
    Network can be described as a systematic assemblymen of guidelines, instruction or rules, as the case may be, that are put in place to ensure that there isn’t any favoritism or bias when it comes to distribution of data. In other words, it should serve as ruling that states that all data should be fairly dispersed to the entirety of web users, whether they can afford it or not. This is important as it helps maintain a level playing field when it comes to the technological industry, as it helps ensure every company (i.e. new, old, and future ones) all have equal barriers to entry as well as equity in the issues they face when they are already in the industry. Without network neutrality superior firms could just basically use the wealth they possess to purchase and acquire access to more rapid lanes on phones, computers and all other sorts of technological devices so their rivals will not work anymore. Conversely a handful of people claim that the elimination of net neutrality may perhaps help start-ups in the future. Start-ups could use this paid priority to enter the marketplace as they do not have the means to build a massive infrastructure. This is under the assumption that big companies would not pay broadband companies millions of dollars to block out their rivals. This could trigger investigations, which would lead to better laws put in place to prevent this. The removal of net neutrality would give the internet giants one less regulation to worry about, meaning their power and influence could still grow substantially from what it already has become. I think it should remain to keep the playing field even.

  13. Kiley Shade

    1. What is Network Neutrality?

    Network Neutrality prevents internet providers from giving preferential treatment to some online content. For example, network neutrality would deny a existing internet providing company from offering a speed boost to a company that can afford to pay rather than one that cannot. Network neutrality is also viewed as protecting innovators from broadband companies and also from the internet giants that rule the network. Basically, network neutrality is a equality rights principle that allows all internet content to be treated equally. There is often a debate whether or not network neutrality helps or hinders the digital world. It is often seen as a battle between telecom companies and internet companies.

    2. What are the pros and cons of network neutrality?

    – Prevents internet provides from giving preferential treatment to online content
    – Internet traffic is treated equally
    – Protecting digital innovators from the telecom oligopolies
    – Protecting digital innovators from the internet giants that rule the network
    – Disallowing the big internet giants from gaining even more power than they already posses
    – Help start up companies thrive
    – Does not permit unfair practices
    – It eases the cost for consumers
    – Freedom of speech and expression

    – May give more power to the ‘Frightful Five’
    – The internet giants still succeed even when their competitors succeed
    – The internet may be less dynamic
    – The internet could be less innovative
    – Increases government influence
    – Ease of access to certain materials such as pornography
    – Higher cost to service providers


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