Net Neutrality and Web Hosting

In the recent events of massive discussions over Net Neutrality in India, we want to put-in our thoughts on the matter as well as try to put it in context with how hosting and web infrastructure works. The three basic principles of Net Neutrality can be given as Medianama has pointed out:

Rule 1: All sites must be equally accessible: No blocking of certain sites or apps just because they don’t pay the ISPs. No gateways should be created, in order to give preferential discovery to one site over another.
Rule 2: All sites must be accessible at the same speed (at an ISP level): No speeding up of certain sites because of business deals and no slowing down (throttling) of some sites.
Rule 3: The cost of access must be the same for all sites (per Kb/Mb or as per data plan): This means no “Zero Rating”. In countries like India, Net Neutrality is more about cost of access than speed of access because all lanes are slow.

In terms of web hosting, there are already a number of factors that can decide how fast or slow a website or a web application can run. Companies with more spending power can skew the faster delivery of their application on the web using following factors:

  • The capacity of infrastructure on which the website is hosted: Companies with more spending capacity can rent or buy IT resources with more delivering power.
  • Connectivity to the hosting servers: More money can also mean that the content can be served on a network which is faster.
  • CDN and redundancy of the web infrastructure: Companies can rent or buy servers at the locations which are closer to the clients which will help server read the content faster

There is a lot of research done on how the speed of website loading affects the consumer behaviour. One such study by Kissmetrics shows that 40% of Internet users would leave a page if it takes atleast 3 seconds to load.

So, we can see that delivering fast speed of a website or an application is already pretty expensive. The ISPs and other upstream providers are already getting paid by content providers who want to deliver their content faster to the customers. After this differentiation, the expectation of the end user should be that this fee will get them any content they want delivered to them as fast as their provider can get it to them in agreement with the Net Neutrality rules highlighted above. Hence we vigorously support Net Neutrality and urge you to do that as well.

Here are few things that you as an internet business owner should do right now: