“The principle that internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favouring or blocking particular products or websites.” Net Neutrality Dictionary
Now, with a recent elimination of net neutrality, this means that ISPs have the ability to prioritize certain services over others. For example, if Netflix doesn’t pay a certain ISP, then they could slow down the service for anyone on that ISP. So far, this isn’t happening much, but it is possible.
If this were to happen, then a VPN could be your way around this. Sascha Segan, at PCMag explains this very well:
“VPNs hider your network traffic so your ISP can’t tell what services you’re using… As a result, the ISP will need to treat all of your traffic on an equal basis, restoring effective net neutrality”
So, with that said, it could be thought that in a future where ISPs are slowing down certain services as a money-grabbing tactic, a simple answer is the get a good VPN service to protect net-neutrality.
There is the chance however, that ISPs could just start throttling VPNs. This would mean throttling all of the traffic on a VPN, and not just certain sites. If this did happen, then a VPN would probably be the worst thing to do in a future on non-net-neutrality.
Leading VPN provider, PIA commented on the topic:
“We won’t let you get throttled or let your ISP choose what you have or don’t have access to. If it comes to cat and mouse, then so be it. There’s 4.2 billion IPv4 IPs and basically a lot of IPv5 IPs that we can use.”
We think that that means that VPN servers will try to work with net neutrality to make it so that a VPN could be a solution to net neutrality going wrong. We’re not saying here that these events will definitely happen, but that it is possible.
Andre Heinemann, of Hackernoon, posed a very good question:
“If VPNs can protect our privacy and allow us to hide our activities from ISP to treat all traffic equal, one has to ask the obvious question: Why hasn’t VPN gone mainstream”.
After posing this question, he swiftly answered with four very good points.
1. The darknet stigma – VPNs are still stereotyped by their original users, i.e. hackers
2. Usability – If you aren’t familiar with the way VPN services work, then it can prove difficult to successfully install
3. Cost – There are free VPNs out there, but if you want quality, safe and secure service, we wouldn’t recommend them
4. Speed – VPNs are known for having a knock-on effect to your internet speed. If the only reason you would get a VPN is to gain net neutrality so that the sites you use are not slowed down, then that kind of defeats the object.
So, when it comes to VPN and net neutrality, the whole idea of VPN being used for net neutrality is kind a futuristic ‘what if’ idea.