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  • Chris Bratton - Tech Journalist

Is net neutrality in the UK under threat by the gatekeepers?

Open-internet, generally referred to as ‘net neutrality, is a well-established principle that gives users the right to browse however they want without control by the internet service provider (ISP). ISPs maintain how users can connect to the Internet but controlling their doings should go under as little monitoring with legal proceedings. Ofcom recently reviewed the net neutrality regulations in the UK, and it may become a concern for threats.

ISP must follow a few rules, like treating all users networks equally, meaning not to favour certain websites or services in terms of access. Blocking or throttling access is another disclaimer given to the ISP by Ofcom.

Managing internet traffic to gain a commercial advantage; for example, the ISP can not redirect a user to an affiliate website or slow down rival organisations. ISPs are given the green light on managing moderate internet traffic so that the service runs smoothly but no longer than necessary. These are some of the points of thumb rules set by Ofcom in the UK. You can find more details here.

Net neutrality rules came to attention in 2015. As agreements met thresholds and aimed to ‘safeguard equal and non-discriminatory treatment of traffic provision’ came to play. Net neutrality review: Call for evidence published on 7 September disclosed the matter deeply with 2nd November closing response (PDF).

Since the Internet is vast and serves an irreplaceable purpose, it is mandatory to keep net neutrality alive. But it may start complicated issues since security concerns are there along with intellectual property, data protection and freedom of expression.

Many are fearful that ISPs are lobbying principles towards web interception, monitoring traffic, and affiliating towards services that are not users’ intent to browse consciously.

In a report, Andrew Keranhan, Internet Service Provider Association (IPSA) head of public affairs, said Ofcom’s call for evidence was much required for ‘the concentration of a small number of large platforms or the size of gaming updates’.

Though ISPs were criticised a lot in the previous years for monitoring heavy traffic networks, it was optimised later on as government organisations came in with rulings of the open Internet.

During the pandemic was at its peak, ISPs helped the communities to stay connected. Not only for the best medium of communication but also a significant margin also conducted remote work. Transmitting more files than usual, reliable connection at a time like that is undoubtedly appraisable. It reflects how capable ISPs are in times of need, and so it was later determined that this part of action needs a revamp.

Ofcom’s consultation process remains one of the appraisable media for responding to consultation with organisations and people. Significant conclusions, finding out the right lines of proposals, and announces are handled pretty swiftly by the organisation, and we hope it remains or becomes much better.

At the moment, meeting demand with 5G, heavy traffic, ISPs is implanting necessary equipment’s to the overall ecosystem so that business connecting to the cloud (both edge and core services) remains uninterrupted.

‘People and businesses have an increasing demand for capacity and growing quality of service expectations’, said in the handbook of call for evidence. The landscape concerning ISPs and general users remain quite cloudy as government proposals go towards ISPs first as they implement rulings from their side. Most users have little to no idea what changed and their rights. To dismiss the wall in between, ISP’s need to become more transparent towards customers.

5G, IT, IoT, the cloud is getting more advanced and secure as days go by, and the services are more critical than ever. Net neutrality should be treated as a feature to preserve the way of life in the digital world.


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