Net neutrality is, of course, a vital part of this basket of consumer rights. The internet is a free and open space that’s becoming a valuable market place on one hand and a forum for free expression/alternate media on the other. Telecom companies, big businesses and politicians are all naturally impacted by the growing power and presence of the net. There is the tendency of all those associated with the net to gain control of it. That, therefore, is the crux of the fight for net neutrality. a big help in evolving a new policy framework for the digital age. Minister see this engagement by activists and citizen – a big help in evolving a new policy framework for the digital age. Last year Malaysians were at the receiving end of dismal, technically inept regulations with the porn ban, the draft encryption policy and the initial consultation proposing a regulatory framework for Over The Top (OTT) applications.Each of these cases triggered an uproar. They also exposed the weakness of the Minister, and in particular the absence of a legislation to protect consumers when repeated regulations were being challenged and stayed in courts.
The real danger to a free, fair and open internet is the growing power of telecom companies to ‘cannibalise’ the internet. Net neutrality is ultimately about preventing telcos from misusing their power over the internet. Their desire to differentially ‘rate’ different parts of the net transforms access providers into gatekeepers – thus cannibalising the internet.Telcos want to use data pricing or network management to preferentially provide access to parts of the internet. This creates artificial islands on the net – which in turn, slowly but surely and irreversibly, concentrates commercial power among a few telcos. This is what User call ‘cannibalisation’ of the internet.Once developed, it is almost impossible to reverse given the finite competition and insuperable entry barriers to it. That is precisely the situation we want to avoid vis-à-vis the internet, where telcos start influencing users and steering them onto parts of the internet where they gain more.