Professor Sondra Doolin
8 December, 2014
An Open Internet
Net neutrality can better be understood as, the open internet. While the net neutrality debate has many aspects, in this paper we focus on one crucial issue: the regulation of net neutrality. Through understanding the background of net neutrality, ISP classification types, and paid prioritization, we can better regulate equal Internet traffic practices. An open Internet can only be achieved if broadband ISPs are reclassified as “common carriers” for the regulation of net neutrality and internet consumers.
In order to better understand net neutrality, we need to understand what it is and how it has evolved. The “net neutrality” debate, as it has emerged over the last five years, is a social, political and economic debate over the public information network known as the Internet and the duties of its private carriers, which include telephone and cable companies and other Internet service providers (ISPs). In the early 2000s, questions surrounding the rights of Internet carriers to block certain network attachments and control access to emergent applications or content providers led to a call to protect “network neutrality” (Wu, 2003).
Protection of net neutrality needs the FCC to reclassify broadband ISPs as “common carriers,” a designation reserved for companies who are mandated by the government to provide the same service, without discrimination, to everyone. Currently, broadband providers are classified as “information services,” which are not obligated to provide the same service to everyone. This was the core of the recent Verizon court case; because Verizon was not classified as a “common carrier,” the FCC lacked the legal authority to regulate it like one. The only way around this would be if Verizon was classified as a common carrier under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934.
Title II of the Communications Act of 1934 would impose some guidelines for how ISP and data
Cited: McMillan, Robert. “The Simple Question Nobody’s Asking About Net Neutrality.” Wired Magazine. Advance Publications, 14 Nov. 2014. Web. 14 Nov. 2014. Wu, Tim. 2003. “Network Neutrality, Broadband Discrimination.” Journal of Telecommunications and High Technology Law, vol. 2, pp. 141–79.