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What Do I Need To Know About ‘Net Neutrality’?

If you’re involved in any online business, or even if you just frequent social media, you’ve probably heard the term ‘net neutrality’ tossed around. Recently, a number of major sites have again staged some form of protest against perceived government interference in the internet, which is viewed as potentially ending net neutrality.

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But what is net neutrality, and does it, or a lack of it, actually affect you?

What Is Net Neutrality?

Net neutrality is the idea that all web traffic should be treated identically by service providers and web infrastructure owners.

The fear that many people have is that larger companies will be able to pay for their services to take priority over those of their competitors, or even that larger conglomerates would be able to restrict access or bandwidth to their competitors’ sites, effectively making competing services unusable without expensive agreements being in place.

The contrary viewpoint is that all traffic is not the same, and a comparison is made to the postal system. People can pay different amounts for different sizes of post and different speeds of delivery. The idea of ‘delivery neutrality’ would make little sense – a postal service would be expected to make every delivery at the same speed and price, which no one would reasonably expect.

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How Does Net Neutrality Affect Web Development?

For those offering web design and development in London, such as https://www.redsnapper.net/web-development-services-london, an end to net neutrality could be a major issue.

One of the principal ‘rules’ of web development is the ‘two- or three-second rule’, which basically refers to the attention span of most people online – if your web page hasn’t loaded within two or three seconds, the user has probably clicked away from your site.

Web developers use a number of metrics to ensure that their website will load quickly, but without net neutrality there is a fear that smaller companies who are not paying a premium for their hosting might have ‘artificially’ increased load times, meaning that regardless of the developer’s work, the pages will load too slowly.

The reality is that there is no net neutrality currently – many ISPs throttle certain types of traffic, especially at peak usage times. Without net neutrality, there is certainly the potential for corporate abuse. However, even with today’s restrictions, everything is working as it should.

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