The concept of network neutrality seeks to create a platform that provides consumers with equal access to networks. In this regard, it ensures that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) do not restrict consumers from accessing certain content and platforms. Furthermore, it gives internet users the mandate to attach equipments that serve their objectives. The debate about the necessity and practicability of network neutrality arose largely due to the end-to-end nature of the internet that creates traffic and security concerns. Research shows that service providers adopt measures that degrade the performance of networks and limit consumers’ access to certain services. Thus, network neutrality is necessary in order to discourage companies that slow-down and discriminate access to certain modes of communication and access to data.
Although service providers cite the need to maintain the high quality of services as the reason for imposing network restrictions, research show that a significant percentage of network restrictions stem from self-motives. These include the cutting down of operation costs, elimination of competition and increasing profits by creating artificial shortage (Christopher, 2010). For example, in 2004, consumers subscribed to Madison River Communications suffered slowed VoIP services due to the blockage of DSL connections by the company. In such a case, while the company sought to increase its profit margin, it caused the loss of time and money for parties subscribed to its services. Artificial shortage forces consumers to subscribe to certain services that boost sales for service providers (Jesse & Ronald, 2012). Although it is vital to monitor and manage networks’ traffic, selective blockage of traffic is an unethical practice that fails to consider consumer interests. It imposes additional costs to consumers.
Access to lawful content and the use of applications and equipments is necessary to promote effective and reliable communication by consumers. Network restriction should only apply in cases whereby users’ motives are malicious and pose threats.