Net Neutrality – Open Internet Gate in Australia

From the last decade, Net Neutrality topic may have an ongoing struggle on the public agenda between regulatory bodies and corporate power. In the whirlpool of network users, internet service providers (ISPs) or digital platform easily to bring together a national audience through a simultaneous signal as pitch to utilize their traffic on network for own business. (Couldry, 2015, p.613). Even the last week Tonight video on YouTube over 7 million “likes” or the 200 thousand comments for Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the US former President Obamas strong statement on keeping the Internet open and free in this process, Net Neutrality has been deemed a necessary regulation in the network, are also present in Australia. (Pickard & Berman, 2019). I will examine analysis that Net Neutrality regulation fit into Australia network, due to political interest or activism manipulating the open internet, and internet service providers (ISPs) or social media companies undertaking fuzzy policies to protect own value.


In the digital social media platform, cyber domain possesses a hitherto unheard-of power to send and share the information, which is attributed to emergence of net neutrality regulations.



Net Neutrality as last-mile Internet access – “Last-mile”, protecting users connect with websites from internet providers to give special treatment to any particular websites or prioritizing certain types of traffic by slowing down their access. (DeNardis, 2014, p.131). From the Net Neutrality principle has originated primarily from The United States and Europe countries, which is less a fully formed policies managing network traffic. In 2006, Joshua Breitbart referred to protect the Internet from corporate hijacking and try to rally people around Net Neutrality. Although, the fate of the open internet legislation set by FCC as “common carrier”, such as home phone lines rather than “Luxury”, related to a large army of handsomely paid lobbyists for the digital industry. (Pickard & Berman, 2019, p.70). Also, Net Neutrality would remain an arcane between small media activist and lobbyists industries, only 7% of Americans learned about benefit of Net Neutrality during initial mobilization period. After turning point as Senate’s remark internet issue “series of tubes” bloomed up in the social media platform, millions of citizens focus on benefits of Net Neutrality. Even the Net Neutrality winning back public’ love, removal of the law has not against by politically resolved. Net Neutrality in the age of Trump, removal of the law has not affected ISPs taking significant actions, but FCC strong deny that it will not impact public users. The American context pointed that main conflicts between private interest of broadband providers and the public’s interest during the competitive innovation environment. (WU, 2003, p.141).

Explaining Net Neutrality
Figure 1: Rough Ride Ahead with End of Net Neutrality, (Cossler,2018)


Net Neutrality advocators:

There is an obvious vulnerability that don’t have Australia laws within regulate or enforce Net Neutrality. Based on Luca (2017) indicated that Net Neutrality is essential for free expression, not only public user access content of information but also the mean of dissemination. However, ISPs attempt “double-dip” strategy in order to create pay-to-pay internet return their interest. Beginning with a series of ISPs or social media companies’ actions, media reform organization founded in Internet Freedom and Non-discrimination Act, prohibiting many politicians and media activist to redouble their effort to rein in the broadband cartel. (Pickard & Berman, 2019, p.72). While, Net Neutrality as “Internet Freedom” in the nascent movement by Free Press central organization behind the Save the Internet coalition mental ideas. (Figure 2)

Figure 2: Introduction to Internet Governance, (2020)

According these central organization tended to frame Net Neutrality as symbolic free speech issues and away ISPs from acting as gatekeepers of the online public sphere. And give internal attack as a law like AT & T companies out of power control what you do online. In addition, Save the Internet coalition also based large media companies like Google, Amazon, and eBay create innovation and entrepreneurship in the online landscape. On the other hands, corporations like Google’s commitment to protecting net neutrality was fleeting and transactional rather than one of principle, even a little bit as self-interested as the ISPs motivation for open the Internet.

Under the Google-Verizon pact revealed the contradictions, Net Neutrality return to triumph. Making millions of supporters seem as bright future including human right and preserves the power for individuals to make choices about how they want to use internet seeking their interested post. It means that in our lifetime everyone may have tools of equal power. Following Net Neutrality supporter are advocating for net neutrality or trying to build open, alternative networks via mesh, in order to extend Free Speech or Human right protection.


Why does Net Neutrality matter in the Australia digital landscape?

Another significant reason associated with protect business model. In contract, the ISP market in Australia is much more competitive than that in America, with low barriers to entry.

One reason interacted with the Australian Consumer Law prohibits misleading and deceptive conduct in trade or commerce, which require ISPs to disclose any practices that restricted consumer use of internet about they “dislike”. If one ISP try to break tradition and implement non-neutral regulation, consumers could switch providers. Based on Net Neutrality regulation demonstrated that all information and resources should be treated equally. And this also regard as fee equally. To a large companies Australia in online market has accepted the user-pays principle for internet content. Internet plans are priced primarily on the amount of data that they can be download annul month. This data plan different from the United States, FCC plan generally have no fee and restriction on data traffic. For example, users can compare different types of data plan from different telecommunications providers like Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. Meanwhile, when Telstra sought to slow the delivery of certain content for specific users, meant that significant network needs to pay for high fee for they what to search. Indeed, Australia has been somewhat late to attention on Net Neutrality. Australia has already been down this path whit its telco sector, lead to Telstra privatization and market de-regulation resulted in Telstra dominating market in Australia telecommunication landscape. Moreover, in 2011 Australia’s government founded its own telco, NBN Co, building a national broadband network (McLaren, 2015). Allowing subcontractors or other companies roll-out of fiber in new developments. From Net Neutrality principle inject creating incentive to protecting business model within equally competition.


Against Net Neutrality:

Unsurprisingly, the small benefits of non-neutral network management in Australia digital landscape. The visible result of net neutrality regulation is the lack of investment an innovation. In Australia’s internet market developed differently due to the high cost of transmission capacity to the backbone of the internet in the USA. Therefore, Australia’s internet adopted consumers’ fee for their downloading, and this is why Australia lagging on international comparisons. In 2009, addressing lack of investment, Australia undertake state intervention strategy promote Telstra in consumer equitable basis. (McLaren, 2015) It means that Telstra become one of the largest and most profitable companies in Australia, also as “savior” address lack of investment issue. According Pickard and Berman illustrated that net neutrality may cut into Google’s short-term profits but bring about potentially cemented its medium-and long-term dominance in search landscape. Thus, in Australia creating to artificial market promote Telstra as domain actor in the internet and broadband, addressing or inspiring other telco companies create value

Another reason against Net Neutrality principle into Australia telecommunication landscape that discrimination. Despite of Discrimination disadvantages, while some form could provide benefit to online consumers and also improve the quality of services (QOS). Allow network preference when selecting deferred content, different content delivery to specific audience’s need. Example of traffic usage exceeds out of the network; consumer can choose which preference content they what to into their eyes. Also use “button” block other deferred content. Following the non-neutrality bring discrimination, telco companies can release their value and seek for unique position in the Australia telecommunication.

To sum up, Australia context maybe be different to the USA and EU, but Australia telecommunication landscape need to learn the lessons from other nations. Even, Australia has been somewhat late to attention on Net Neutrality, the regulation over Internet and broadband engaging completive market and creating incentive to invest and innovate. Furthermore, some argument can be made for healthy neutral internet between political regulation and protect bossiness model delivery great risk. I am hopefully that can be inject new Australia digital landscape and protect the internet’s role as an open, new forum of political, ISPs, and public for ALL!





Couldry, N. (2015). The myth of ‘us’: digital networks, political change and the production of collectivity. Information, Communication & Society, 18(6), pp. 608–626.

DeNardis, L. (2014). The Global War for Internet Governance. 1 st ed. New Haven: Yale. University Press, pp.131-152

Luca, B. (2016). End-to-End, Net Neutrality and Human Rights. Net Neutrality.  Compendium, Springer International Publishing, pp.13-29. ISBN 978-3-319-26425-7

McLaren, G. (2015, 3 06), Net Neutrality-What the US Can Learn From Australia, Retrieved from Glary McLaren Blog:

Pickard, V, & Berman, D.E. (2019). The Making of a Movement. In After Net Neutrality: A New Deal for the Digital Age. New Haven: Yale University Press, pp.69-101

Wu, T. (2003). Network Neutrality, Broadband Discrimination, Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts, pp 1-36