Net Neutrality is necessary for a free, open, and uncensored Internet. Still, Net Neutrality finds itself under attack. Below is a series of arguments against Net Neutrality created by Reddit user /u/renegade_division paired with rebuttals.
/u/renegade_division's argument has been edited for concision and clarity.
"Two companies/private entities/individuals can draw up any valid contract between them about how they want to treat their property. This includes prioritizing one piece of data over others. But Net Neutrality wouldn't allow that. Let the free market be free."
Here's the thing: the Internet service market is hardly free. Consumers often have limited bargaining power with their internet service providers (ISPs): many Americans have little to no choice between ISPs, and Internet access is a necessity nowadays. This leaves many consumers at the mercy of the likes of Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T—a relationship hardly conducive to fair agreements and free markets.
Free markets can only function if there is competition. When it comes to internet service providers, the competition simply isn't there. (Protecting consumers against exploitative monopolies is why many government regulations exist, after all!)
"Facebook wanted to make the Internet free for poor people in India by subsidizing it, but Net Neutrality supporters fearmongered the crowd to be against it so the Indian government banned Facebook's efforts. Net Neutrality supporters know that private individuals would love to get free Internet, even if it is just one section of it."
Just to get the facts straight, Facebook did offer free 'internet' service to select regions in India, but did not offer unrestricted access. Instead, Facebook offered access to only a select few sites. Unsurprisingly, Facebook was included among these sites. (This limited-access Internet is in violation of the core principles of Net Neutrality.)
A limited-access Internet would lock its users into using the services that the provider selects. Not only does this allow the provider—in this case, Facebook—to selectively control the flow of information to its users, it also allows the provider to exclude new services from competing with those on its platform. (Its users, after all, would not be able to access the competing service!)
By the way, India rejected Zuckerburg's offer:
Around the country, farmers, labourers and office workers scorned Facebook's offer. Called Free Basics, it provided only limited access to the Internet through a suite of websites and services that, unsurprisingly, included Facebook. They felt the limited service didn't follow the open nature of the Internet, where all sites and online destinations should be equally accessible, so they organized real-world protests and an online Save The Internet campaign, with the message that Zuckerberg's efforts weren't welcome.
"T-Mobile made Netflix free for its users, and again Net Neutrality supporters criticized it as a violation of Net Neutrality. People, on the other hand, love the fact that watching movies on Netflix does not eat up their data plan. (Of course, in exchange T-Mobile serves their video on a deprioritized line and chooses their own encoding rate.)"
Imagine you are a competing video service and are trying to enter the market. This arrangement between Netflix and T-Mobile would make it much more difficult for you to capture Netflix's customers—after all, the system would be quite literally rigged in their favor!
How's that for free markets?
"All data is not equal and it should not be treated equally. If a doctor is performing a remote surgery, those data packets should not be treated the same way as your Netflix video content."
Internet speeds aren't 'either-or.' The Internet can handle both your Netflix streaming and the doctor's packets at high speeds. The Internet is a masterpiece of engineering, and isn't clogged yet.
"Don't let the government control the Internet. Today they're doing it in the name of making internet 'uncensored,' tomorrow they will censor it in the name of keeping it 'uncensored.'"
The government does not have the power to control the Internet under Net Neutrality. This is simply incorrect. The government can fine internet service providers for treating different websites' traffic differently, but the government by law cannot censor websites (unless, of course, the website is serving illegal materials such as child pornography, but this has nothing to do with Net Neutrality).
Net Neutrality is important. Don't let the critics fool you.