Should Aussies Care About Net Neutrality?
There has been a lot of buzz lately that The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States—which is the equivalent to the Australian Communications and Media Authority—wants to remove the Net Neutrality Act. The changes proposed in this act is that ISPs (Internet Service Providers) have the power to speed up, slow down, and block access to specific websites. Also, ISPs can propose additional charges for customers to access some websites.
There are no net neutrality laws in the country since there are laws that prohibit ISPs from charging more for customers to have access to specific websites or even slowing down their internet speeds. According to Australia’s competition regulator, these current laws are enough to serve as protection.
“We have not seen evidence of Australian ISPs looking to inappropriately block access to internet content,” a spokesperson for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said as quoted on SBS News. “The incentives and opportunities to discriminate or foreclose are not as evident in Australia as in other jurisdictions,” he said.
“If problems emerge, it is likely that we could deal with them under existing competition law without the need for specific ‘net neutrality’ regulations.”
However, the impact of the changes can reach businesses in the country and its citizens. And according to Finder.com’s Fred Schebesta, that is the case.
“Many Australian businesses that are operating internationally rely on hosting and other services from US providers. If the US internet service provider market shrinks because of the rule change, that’s going to have a flow-on effect on those Australian businesses,” he told News.com.au.
Regarding the citizens, Schebesta explained that they could get affected once ISPs start to add a price hike to their services once businesses, such as Netflix, pay ISPs to let Aussies access these websites faster.
With this, citizens should care about net neutrality since monopoly can become a practice once this is abolished. The country may not feel it now, but Schebesta said the impact on people would “take a while to flow through, if it happens at all”.