Net Neutrality: How will it affect testing?

It’s been pretty difficult to escape talk of Net Neutrality lately. It’s one of those news stories that seems to be everywhere, for good reason of course. @tybar provided some useful links about it in last week:

A few of us online at the time started to discuss it a bit more and what the long reaching implications might be depending on what country you are based in or what country the service you are using is based in. Then came the statement I’d never thought about until now

“testing for some people may become a new type of headache”

I’m aware that there are motions in place to appeal the decisions but for now it seems to be here to stay so:

How do you anticipate the net neutrality ruling may affect testing?

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Does it affect testing? The only things that could potentially affect product quality for the end user are problems in the product related to different internet speeds. We should be testing for different internet speeds with our apps anyway.

For example, if you were a tester working on a potentially paid-for internet speed boosted service, like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, you may have to test for problems on regular internet speed as well as the fast lane internet speed.

It’s probably too early to tell what problems will occur though until the ISPs roll out their different services.


There are certain principles which comprises of Net Neutrality:

  1. It helps in protecting free speech.
  2. It helps in providing our right to communicate freely online.
  3. Additionally, it helps in providing us an open free networks from ISP i.e ISP should not block or discriminate against any site or blog or any content which is available on the internet.
  4. United States federal law adopts strong Net Neutrality rules.

As the mobile service provider cannot restrict us to call any individual likewise ISP should not interfere on the data available on internet which we view or we wish to post. For testing web applications, if net neutrality does not work then testing would get tougher as ISP would not provide an appropriate bandwidth to small companies who do not comply with the terms for ISP. Without Net Neutrality, it is hard to test the application on the wider scale as ISP may vary with internet bandwidth for different regions or may block some content as well.

While testing for products needing large bandwidth (e.g with Video streaming or high quality contents) then results under different environments may give different results. Like while testing in Contained environment, videos may play well without any buffering, however over internet may have unnecessary buffering or play on low quality rather than HD as ISPs will not be providing them enough bandwidth. So user experience may be different if Net Neutrality is compromised.

Hope this information is helpful for you.