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Network neutrality

    This article is about the general principle of network neutrality. For its specific application to Canada, see Network
neutrality in Canada. For its application to the U.S., see Network neutrality in the United States.

    Network neutrality (also net neutrality, Internet neutrality) is a principle that advocates no restrictions by
Internet service providers or governments on consumers' access to networks that participate in the internet. Specifically,
network neutrality would prevent restrictions on content, sites, platforms, types of equipment that may be attached,
and modes of communication.[1][2][3]

    Since the early 2000s, advocates of net neutrality and associated rules have raised concerns about the ability of
broadband providers to use their last mile infrastructure to block Internet applications and content (e.g. websites,
services, and protocols), and even block out competitors. (The term 'net neutrality' didn’t come into popular use until
several years later, however.) The possibility of regulations designed to mandate the neutrality of the Internet has been
subject to fierce debate, especially in the United States.

    Neutrality proponents claim that telecom companies seek to impose a tiered service model in order to control the pipeline
and thereby remove competition, create artificial scarcity, and oblige subscribers to buy their otherwise uncompetitive
services. Many believe net neutrality to be primarily important as a preservation of current freedoms.[4] Vinton Cerf,
considered a "father of the Internet" and co-inventor of the Internet Protocol, Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the Web,
and many others have spoken out in favor of network neutrality.[5][6]

    Opponents of net neutrality claim that broadband service providers have no plans to block content or degrade
network performance.[7] Despite this claim there has been a case where an Internet service provider, Comcast,
intentionally slowed peer-to-peer (P2P) communications.[8] Still other companies have acted in contrast to these
assertions of hands-off behavior and have begun to use deep packet inspection to discriminate against P2P, FTP, and
online games, instituting a cell-phone style billing system of overages, free-to-telecom "value added" services,
and bundling.[9] Critics of net neutrality also argue that data discrimination of some kinds, particularly to guarantee
quality of service, is not problematic, but is actually highly desirable. Bob Kahn, co-inventor of the Internet Protocol,
has called the term net neutrality a "slogan" and states that he opposes establishing it, but he admits that he is
against the fragmentation of the net whenever this becomes excluding to other participants.[10] Opponents of net
neutrality regulation also argue that the best solution to discrimination by broadband providers is to encourage greater
competition among such providers, which is currently limited in many areas.[11]

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