Internet Service Providers (also referred to as ISPs) play a significant role in the current world. The ISP market is featured by a large diversity of offered services and business connections. In such a market, certain regulations are needed, and net neutrality is one of these regulations. Net neutrality serves to promote equality in this industry.
Net Neutrality and ISP
In my opinion, the actions taken by Comcast were unethical. This is because its actions of blocking the use of P2P sites are tantamount to the violation of the principle of net neutrality; this principle requires internet service providers to treat all internet communications equally and desist from discriminating other users (Pickard and David 5). Moreover, Comcast’s actions were against its dedication to net neutrality statement which asserts as follows: “We do not block, slow down, or discriminate against legal content.”
An ISP has the right to block certain traffic on the internet. This is particularly true for illegal content. The First Amendment provides an ISP with the right to block ISIS recruiting sites and other material it considers to be objectionable; examples of such materials include obscene, filthy, extremely violent and harassing content (Penttinen 11). There was a more ethical way Comcast could have tackled the issue of some users consuming a more than normal bandwidth level. As such, the company should have applied the use of Bandwidth throttling. This entails intentionally slowing or speeding of an internet service; in this case, Comcast should have slowed down the internet service of those consumers using higher levels of bandwidth.
Internet Service Providers are expected to act ethically in the course of providing services to customers. Yet, Comcast set a bad example in this industry by blocking the use of P2P sites by some of its customers thus violating the net neutrality principle. Comcast should have used Bandwidth throttling to regulate the use of bandwidth by its customers instead.
Penttinen, Jyrki T. The Telecommunications Handbook: Engineering Guidelines for Fixed, Mobile and Satellite Systems. John Wiley & Sons, 2015.
Pickard, Victor, and David E. Berman. After Net Neutrality: A New Deal for the Digital Age. Yale UP, 2019.