In the perfect world, Net Neutrality should be enforced by law – up until recently it was.
The true impact of repealing Net Neutrality isn’t understood by many. Net Neutrality is an umbrella term which addresses a variety of dubious tactics that companies in this industry carry out.
Common Net Neutrality Violations
Filtering or blocking of content
Throttling traffic / Traffic Prioritization
Content modification / manipulation
Data mining / Privacy Violation
Yomura Fiber was Net Neutral before the term was even coined. We started life in 1993 and we understood from the start that our customers should expect their services to be free from tampering or manipulation.
Yomura Fiber has the single clearest Net Neutrality policy in the industry and the only ISP to back that with a Transparency Report. This report shows in real-time any actions that have been carried out on the network to block or disrupt a site. Whilst Yomura won’t take unilateral action to block a website, there are times when courts will compel us to block or shutdown access to a site.
When you read the points above, many don’t sound that nefarious; but consider that each point in a context outside of Internet services. You’ll quickly realize that this behavior is outrageous.
Filtering and Blocking of content What would you do if you wanted to order a pizza and called Pizza Hut – but their phone lines were continually busy or the call quality was so bad you couldn’t hear the order-taker. You would call a competitor. Now imagine that a company could order a service from their telephone company to prioritize calls to them but congest their competitors – there would be outrage. In the telephone industry this is illegal but now that Net Neutrality is repealed there is nothing stopping ISPs from blocking or slowing down a website. So a company like Amazon’s website could be filtered or blocked because an ISP has been paid by another book seller to filter Amazon’s traffic.Traffic needs to be equal and without disruption by the ISP.
Throttling Traffic / Traffic Prioritization
Imagine the postal service prioritized first-class letters from one company but delayed first-class letters from another company. The expectation is that if you pay for first class mail, then you receive it. But if a company was penalized at the hands of a competitor, there wouldn’t be an equal or equitable postal service. Regulation prevents this tactic.For example, your ISP is not net neutral and maybe has their own streaming service. You are also a customer of Netflix and you find that your streaming is glitchy and continually buffering, yet your ISP’s streaming service is perfect. Maybe your ISP doesn’t want you downloading lots of content so they throttle bit-torrent traffic or maybe throttle file downloads over a certain size. Reducing traffic across the network reduces costs and avoids expensive upgrades whilst the customer is paying for a premium service.
If an ISP sells an unmetered service then it must be truly unmetered. The ISP can calculate upfront the peak usage and factor this into their financial considerations as well as their network design. If it’s not viable then they shouldn’t offer it.
Zero rated services
These are usually third party services that are provided for free. Some mobile operators may provide free access to Facebook or Twitter, these costs are paid by the third party services and provide a heavy commercial advantage over smaller services where customers have to pay to access.Yomura Fiber does not allow Zero Rated Services but also doesn’t believe that Zero Rated Services are as awful as the other Net Neutrality violations. In the instance of Zero Rated Services, so long as other services are not throttled or blocked, they actually bring the consumer value. They provide them access to common services at zero cost.
Content Modification / Manipulation
These are some of worst offences – this varies from injecting advertising, substituting adverts placed by the content creator with the ISPs adverts – denying the content creator their just revenue, intercepting search terms and directing users to sponsor’s landing pages and even intercepting speed tests and diverting them to local services to inflate perceived performance of the ISP’s service.Content providers rely on revenue from advertising. An unscrupulous ISP could easily swap out banners, affiliate links, add trackers or anything else they wish to a page. Equally they could remove negative commentary about their business or another company who requested they did so. In the small scale this is relatively harmless but if a national operator chose to make certain pages or links invisible, or even change the content on the page entirely – this could cause significant impact.
Data mining / Privacy Violation
Tracking individuals, their habits, their spending and even the types of content they read/watch is a highly saleable. Some ISPs share customer information with marketing companies allowing marketing firms to have a greater insight into the customer’s behavior. Some will argue that they have nothing to hide but it’s not about having anything to hide, it’s about expectation. Imagine mailing a letter from you to one of your relatives, you would expect that letter, in normal circumstances, to arrive without being opened and without the content/data points being stored for later sale. Just as if you walk through a mall, you don’t expect to be noted which shop windows you look in, how long you looked in them and which products you looked at.Outrageously, some ISPs offer services to let you opt-out of their tracking or data resale for an additional fee. We firmly believe that a customer should be entitled to privacy in their communications without paying a fee or making a request.
Yomura’s position on Net Neutrality
Yomura Fiber does not and will not slow down or prioritize traffic from any company or website.
Yomura Fiber does not and will not block traffic from any website unless directed by a court. At which point that website will be added to our Transparency Report.
Yomura Fiber does not and will not offer paid fast-lanes to content providers. All traffic is treated equally. Content providers are permitted to peer with Yomura Fiber’s network at any public Internet exchange or with private interconnect without charge.
Yomura Fiber does not and will not mine your traffic for information on your browsing habits or your activities for sale to third parties.
Yomura Fiber does not and will not modify the content passing through our network either on the inbound path to you or the outbound path from you.
Consumers need to choose companies that respect their rights to privacy, their rights to equal and equitable services and their rights to know that their data will not be modified in any way. There are many ISPs in the US who are truly Net Neutral but equally there are plenty that are nothing more than a wolf in sheep’s clothing. These are Net Neutral for marketing reasons or to avoid losing lucrative contracts in states that are now wising up and making Net Neutrality part of their state and city requirements.