Net Neutrality debate: Arab world perspective
The internet is plagued with news of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposal to change net neutrality rules. The change is anticipated to take place as it is supported strongly by FCC chairman Ajit Pai. Ajit suggest that the current rules are bad for business because it treats internet service providers as utilities providers.
FCC want to gamble on telecom companies
The current classification was determined by the previous FCC administration under the pressure of the public. Net neutrality dictates to the telecom companies that they should treat all internet traffic equally. The argument here that this ensure that there is a competition among content provider.
FCC new proposal suggest that there is no need for such rules and it is up to the ISP to adhere to the principles of net neutrality. Ajit believes that the current rules are slowing down investments of the ISPs which at the end leaves part of america with no great options for internet access.
Arab world perspective:
Okay, what hell are you talking about!!! Exactly that is the response that you will get in the street if you try to explain net neutrality to anyone in Arab world. I honestly had no idea either but the relentless discussion of The Verge's Nilay Patel have grown over me. Telecom companies in Arab world are either owned totally or partially by the governments. Which mean that our data are easily accessible by the government authorities. If the government doesn't like any service, they can simply block it with no public consent. Private companies are obligated to respond to the government rulings if they want to make a business.
Governments owns or controls ISPs
The services around here are allowed or not allowed. There is no throttling down happening. However, it is hard to paint 22 countries with the same wide brush. There are differences need to be acknowledge. For example, some countries allow services like skype but most GCC countries block it. Look, I am personally with the government blocking certain content that is inappropriate to our culture and beliefs. That is a good and healthy practice. However, sometimes the government's over do it with no reasoning. Telecom companies never had good reputation anywhere and the situation in arab countries is the same. Just go to twitter and I promise you you can't miss the hashtags that are against ISPs and their expensive low value services.
You can't simply put faith on telecom companies
ISPs want to make money. They don't care about us consumer much. To remove the rules that obligates them to keep the net neutral is just wrong. I can not see how it is going to improve the value of the services provided. That being said, I still believe that the new FCC will implement is new proposal.