Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

BUSINESS DAILY

French government, employers and unions begin final discussions on labour reforms

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Here are six costly failures from America’s longest war. No. 1: cashmere goats'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Charter of transparency…but no official ‘first lady’ title for Brigitte Macron

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Nigeria's Buhari slams divisions after a 3-month absence

Read more

THE DEBATE

What's next for the "Islamic State Group"?

Read more

ENCORE!

Opera singers Thomas Hampson & Luca Pisaroni return to Paris

Read more

FOCUS

Hunger has forced many Nigerian refugees in northern Cameroon to return to dangerous Boko Haram territory.

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

US investigating China's intellectual property policy

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Bonnie Tyler to sing 'Total Eclipse of the Heart' during total solar eclipse

Read more

#TECH 24

We explore the digital revolution and check out the latest technological trends. Every Saturday at 2.15 pm Paris time. Or you can catch it online from Friday.

Latest update : 2011-03-03

The debate over 'Net Neutrality'

The internet has long been a bastion of open communication where information flows freely. That era may soon come to an end as more governments consider placing new restrictions on the exchange of data. This week on Tech 24: the debate over "Net Neutrality".

For billions of people around the world, the internet is now an indispensible tool that plays a vital role in their daily lives. The ability to easily and quickly access information from almost anywhere and communicate by text, audio or video messages with anyone connected to the network is largely taken for granted. Just how all those bits of data are delivered is now the subject of a fierce debate in capitals across Europe and the United States.

Since the internet was born in the mid-1990s, there’s been an egalitarian ethos -- all data, whether it comes from a lone blogger in Tajikistan or from a multinational corporation in New York, is treated equally. The telecommunications companies that deliver information to computers, phones and other internet-connected devices have not discriminated or prioritized one type of contents over another. In essence, internet service providers, known as ISPs, have stuck to the policy of "network neutrality".

 

Times have changed

Until recently, ISPs found that notion to be relatively easy to accommodate. Sending text emails and simple web pages did not place much strain on their networks, and their operating costs remained in check. Today, telecom operators like Comcast in the United States, France Telecom and Spain's Telefonica are among a growing number of ISPs who assert that, with the arrival of streaming video, internet phone calls and other data-heavy online services, their costs are skyrocketing.

Now, these big companies want to change the rules. Instead of treating all internet traffic equally, they're asking their governments to give them permission to prioritize certain kinds of internet traffic over others. Companies like Google (and its subsidiary You Tube), Facebook and others major sites would have to pay to have their content delivered without interruption. Those that cannot or do not want to pay for priority delivery, would be relegated to a slower, second tier.

This move has sparked a virulent debate. Telecom operators assert the current system is not economically viable as interests groups ranging from non-profits to small businesses fear their information will be relegated to second-class status if they are unable to pay.

 

 

By Eric Olander

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2017-07-10 technology

How technology is fighting corruption

In this edition, we look at the different ways in which technology is helping to fight corruption. From software to apps and Twitter accounts, there are many tech initiatives...

Read more

2017-07-07 technology

Energy Observer: Sailing the world for a cleaner future

This week we bring you a special edition of Tech 24 dedicated to the Energy Observer. This ex-racing catamaran is set to sail around the world for six years solely on renewable...

Read more

2017-06-30 technology

Station F: World's largest startup incubator opens in Paris

The world's largest startup incubator has just opened here in Paris. Station F is a 34,000 m² space entirely dedicated to young tech entrepreneurs that's set to change the face...

Read more

2017-06-16 technology

VivaTech fair in Paris showcases latest innovations

We visit the annual VivaTech fair in Paris where start-ups and tech giants rub shoulders and the latest innovations are on display. Find out how to fight stress using virtual...

Read more

2017-06-09 technology

The sky's the limit for drones

From agriculture and energy to entertainment and gaming, drone technology is developing at jet speed and is set to disrupt many new industries. We take a closer look. Plus, in...

Read more