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The internet has become one of the tools that are used by people at all times for various reasons including communication, managing their jobs, providing services to customers and for general entertainment, among others. As a result, internet services have been on demand from all over the globe, especially in businesses and homes. The internet service providers, however, after realizing the high demand for internet services, have decided to have packages that can be selected by individuals who opt for these services.
These internet providers discriminate the consumers based on the users, content, platforms, equipment used and method of communication in determining the price to charge for these internet services. As a result, a single user is charged a lower amount compared to when the users are two or more, even if the amount of bandwidth used is the same. This means that the charges for internet services are compensated for differently. By having the same data charges for internet services offered to homes, businesses, and other people in different situations, there will be improved diversity and discrimination will be eliminated.
Background of Internet Services
For a long time, internet usage was higher in businesses and companies that had the necessary resources to obtain the connections. As a result, homesteads would not be fitted with these connections as the equipment required for internet connection was relatively expensive and thus less accessible. However, due to the advancement of technology, access to cheaper equipment that would be used in providing access to the internet was possible.
According to Syed, Sheraz, manufacture of routers that were smaller made wireless internet connection standards the most appropriate means of providing internet solutions to more people (154). However, since the providers are still in business, they would charge for the services they offer to both businesses and homes depending on packages.
This gave rise to the variation of pricing on internet services depending on a variety of factors inclusive of the location, content viewed, the type of equipment used, the purpose of using the internet among other aspects.
Discrimination of these Internet Providers
The internet service providers are known to discriminate their customers particularly because of their differences in using these internet services, the services they are subscribed to, websites they visit and even how they communicate using these internet services.
One of the concerns rises because these Internet service providers are able to monitor the usage patterns for their customers, and at times, even access the websites and services they have been using (Adams, Helen and Christopher Harris 9). This means that there is a higher chance that privacy of the customers is not respected by these internet service providers as they try to determine the data and websites that are visited in the process of determining charges to impose on the usage.
As a result, internet service providers have an opportunity to determine the amount of money to charge different individuals based on the type of content they browse. For instance, Gao, Wei, and Yao Yang suggest that people who work from home may face data charges similar to businesses, which means that they have to pay more money as compared to other individuals at home (415).
Users are also charged differently by these internet service providers based on their appearance and regions where they live. It is more common to find individuals living in more urban areas being charged higher for internet usage as compared to those who are living in rural areas. According to Economides, Nicholas, internet service providers have the perception that the people residing in urban regions earn more than those living in the rural areas and thus they opt for higher pricing of their services with the aim of earning more profits (42).
This is a factor which influences people who live in these urban regions because they cannot obtain similar services like those from rural zones under the same price. Therefore, even if an individual who is living in urban regions, such as a student, requires an internet connection, they can be charged higher even if they are not working. It is thus clear that internet service providers may discriminate pricing of their services depending on the users of such services.
The type of equipment being used may be used to discriminate over the pricing of internet services from various providers. The businesses that are fitted with their own servers are expected to pay a large sum of money for the internet services they obtain as compared to firms who rely on remote servers. Additionally, data cap limitations are set on data usage, which means that such companies are required to pay even more to use more bandwidth.
The challenge, therefore, is evident more on large corporations which may have many people requiring more data bandwidth and who have larger equipment that uses up more internet (Jog, Yatin, et al 17). The charges for such companies is significantly high and the internet service providers provide the necessary data limitations which father increases these charges. The methods of communication along with platforms used by different people serve as a discriminating factor for the internet service providers in setting costs to charge for their services.
According to Economides, Nicholas, people who communicate more through the use of video calls rather than voice calls over the internet are charged ore on their data bills (45). Furthermore, depending on the platform used in this communication, the quality of such communication methods may differ, which means that they will use data differently and hence having different data consumption.
This is taken as a discriminating option by the internet service providers in charging for such usages differently and thereby having varying profit margins. This is not a proper way of charging customers because people have become more accommodated to using the internet as a form of communication. Therefore, people will use the internet even more and when such data charges are increased, it impacts their overall budgets.
The internet service providers undertake such discriminative measures both as a means of increasing their earnings and also reducing their risks and expenses. By having differing data pricing for the consumers, Fowler, Geofrrey indicates that the internet service providers try to gain more on charging higher for their services (par 5). However, their approaches are not justified because they should have set data limits for all individuals instead of having different packages for businesses and homes. This would be better as it will not discriminate people and thus pricing of these internet services will be similar across different towns despite the equipment and use of the internet services.
The internet service providers are responsible for offering a secure way of accessing the internet through their servers and other equipment. As a result, they are free to make decisions on what they should do, how they should offer their services and what they should charge for the data used.
The approach of having different packages for homes and businesses is important because it helps differentiate the bandwidth to be allocated in the two separate fields. Having the difference also aids the internet service providers to determine how much they should charge because businesses will tend to use more data packets as compared to the household internet.
Furthermore, the businesses are bound to require even faster internet speeds to maintain their operations, which is not the same for the homesteads. Different equipment requires a different amount of data allocation. Companies that have their own servers need high-speed internet and might use the same bandwidth of data used in a household for a month in a day of their activities.
This means that separation of such entities to ensure they are charged differently is an approach that prevents the internet service providers from suffering large losses (Catalog.Gpo.Gov par 3). Therefore, the internet service providers should develop these data packages and charge according to the equipment used by the individuals subscribing to their services.
Additionally, communication through the use of internet services has become particularly a common practice across the world. This is especially due to the development of applications that aid in both voice and video conversations over the internet. Therefore, having specific packages for such communication should be taken into consideration.
This is because people tend to communicate daily and spend many hours, especially on these platforms talking with each other. Having such data charges depending on the applications and platforms that are used in these forms of communication aids to improve efficiency and reduce the overall losses the internet service providers would be facing.
By having the same data charges for internet services offered to homes, businesses, and other people in different situations, there will be improved diversity and discrimination will be eliminated. The internet service providers have the mandate of deciding on charges they will impose on their services, which may differ depending on the platforms, websites visited, user type, home or corporation, communication methods, and platforms, among others.
These discriminative charges occur depending on the above factors and they thus influence how people can access the network. Their primary benefit is to gain more charging higher for their services depending on different individuals and usage of these services. While this is beneficial for the internet service providers, the consumers are often left facing these data charges, which increases their spending. However, while some of these discriminative approaches are valid, others should be eliminated because they do not offer any benefit to the internet service providers.
Adams, Helen R., and Christopher Harris. “Net Neutrality: Why It Matters to School Librarians.” Teacher Librarian, vol. 45, no. 4, Apr. 2018, pp. 8–12. EBSCOhost, https://www.linccweb.org/webscripts/lwauth.aspx?calling_system=ezproxy&institute=flcc2900&url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=129318050&site=ehost-live
Catalog.Gpo.Gov. "Entire CGP Catalog - Record View", 2018, https://catalog.gpo.gov/F/?func=direct&doc_number=001010708&format=999. Accessed 12 Nov 2018.
Economides, Nicholas. "Economic Features of the Internet and Network Neutrality." (2015).
Fowler, Geofrrey. "Net Neutrality Keeps The Web From Running Like An Airport Security Line". Houstonchronicle.Com, 2017, http://db29.linccweb.org/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.db29.linccweb.org/docview/1976354107?accountid=45777
Gao, Wei, and Yao Yang. "Chaining cyber-titans to neutrality: An updated common carrier approach to regulate Platform Service Providers." Computer Law & Security Review 31.3 (2015): 412-421.
Jog, Yatin, et al. "Net Neutrality and Impact of Regulation on Over the Top (OTT) Services and Study of responses of Public and Telecom Service Provider." International Journal of Management, IT and Engineering 6.6 (2016).
Syed, Sheraz. “Prioritizing Traffic: The Internet Fast Lane.” Journal of Art, Technology & Intellectual Property Law, vol. 25, no. 1, Fall 2014, pp. 151–181. EBSCOhost, https://www.linccweb.org/webscripts/lwauth.aspx?calling_system=ezproxy&institute=flcc2900&url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ah&AN=102780447&site=ehost-live
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