Last Updated on: Monday, December 18, 2017
What is Net Neutrality?
The phrase “net neutrality” refers to the principle that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should treat all data provided to customers equally and without restriction to block out competitors. In essence, it keeps ISPs from choosing which data gets streamed at a faster rate and which websites are blocked or throttled.
For example, let’s say we have an imaginary internet service provider in Ghana called “NETwork1”. When you are a subscriber onNETwork1, and you access a website like Mfidie.com, the speed at which your ISP (NETwork1) delivers Mfidie.com to you, is the same speed at which NETwork1 will deliver any other site.
This means that on the same ISP, there is virtually no class of Internet Users. Without Net Neutrality, companies or individuals willing to pay more may get a freer, faster Internet service, which could lead to two classes of Internet user: one rich in money and information, the other poor in both.
United States: In 2015, Net neutrality was made official policy through new FCC (Federal Communications Commission) regulatory rules that treated ISPs as a public utility following extensive industry and public debate.
Net Neutrality in Ghana
The heading above is tricky! Has there ever been net neutrality in Ghana, or will there? For starters, it is difficult to pinpoint laws and regulations governing the internet in Ghana. Apart from those that generally govern communications and cybercrime.
Ghana has faced net neutrality crisis in the past, as the NCA considered banning Skype, Viber, WhatsApp, etc with the witless excuse that they were causing telecoms companies to lose revenue. ISPs in Ghana don’t look like they are willing to treat all data provided to customers equally and without restriction. They would gladly wipe out the competition, and the NCA is prepared to consider them.
There are over 9 million Internet users in Ghana. /July 2017.
There is also the issue of “data packages”. Pay GHS 5 and get 400 MB for Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo. While this is not entirely against Net Neutrality, it is still giving some companies or services “more” data, maybe a loophole in net neutrality?
With the FCC voting to kill net neutrality, it is only wise to assume that Telecoms in Ghana will continue to suggest more ways the segregate bandwidth and internet services for Ghanaians, and the NCA will gladly consider all these. It is now the responsibility of us consumers to let them know we are against Net Neutrality!
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