The latest decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has resulted in the end net neutrality in the US. The rules under net neutrality have been in use since 2015, but after the vote, they have no place now. The FCC has gotten rid of most of the regulations around ISPs. While the decision will affect the US, other countries are also likely to get affected by it. The market experts worldwide think that this development will hamper future prospects of cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin. Vice news quotes Marvin Ammori, board member of Fight for the Future, a digital advocacy group, saying, “To avoid this, exchanges may have to resort to paying the Internet provider a premium in order to remain accessible. In addition, ISPs may be able to use this ability to stop the trading and usability of bitcoin and its counterparts thus effectively putting an end to the cryptocurrency market. Furthermore, Internet providers may be able to affect the cryptocurrency space by affecting peer-to-peer interactions.” Other experts also believe that ISP can either slow down or block the access to a website in favour of a preferred exchange. Also, the blockchain works on the main principle of decentralized peer-to-peer interaction, end of net neutrality will definitely affect the same.
About net neutrality
Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers must treat all data on the Internet the same, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication. For instance, under these principles, internet service providers are unable to intentionally block, slow down or charge money for specific websites and online content.
What does this mean for India?
So far India has stood for Net Neutrality and says ISPs cannot offer discriminatory data packs. India’s strong stance on Net Neutrality also meant that Facebook’s Free Basics plan was eventually shut down in the country. However, since the US decision does not have a big influence on India, there may be some ripple effects since the internet is a borderless medium. Additionally, if this move has an effect on smaller companies, there will be tough times ahead for them to reach out to emerging markets like India. For example, a social media website like Facebook may not have reached India if previous giants like Orkut paid more to the service providers. This also means that if current biggies like Facebook pay more to ISPs in the US, smaller websites may find it tough to expand globally. The decision to scrape Net Neutrality in the US also means that it may have an influence on smaller countries, where regulators may take similar positions. However, in India, Trai has already made its pronouncement on the vexing issue of net neutrality, when it had recommended that internet access must be treated in the manner you would treat a public good, that is for the benefit of all.
First published on 16 December 2017 on www.financialexpress.com