Net neutrality

Net neutrality (also network neutrality or Internet neutrality) is the principle that Internet service providers and governments should treat all data on the Internet equally, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, and modes of communication. There has been extensive debate about whether net neutrality should be required by law.

The term was coined by Columbia University media law professor Tim Wu in 2003, as an extension of the longstanding concept of a common carrier, which was used to describe the role of telephone systems

Internet traffic includes all of the different messages, files and data sent over the Internet, including, for example, emails, digital audio files, digital video files, etc. According to Columbia Law School professor Tim Wu, the best way to explain network neutrality is that a public information network will end up being most useful if all content, websites, and platforms (e.g., mobile devices, video game consoles, etc.) are treated equally.

A more detailed proposed definition of technical and service network neutrality suggests that service network neutrality is the loyalty to the paradigm that operation of a service at a certain layer is not influenced by any data other than the data interpreted at that layer, and in accordance with the protocol specification for that layer.