WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
• Net neutrality is the principle that Internet providers and
governments should treat all data on the Internet equally,
not discriminating or charging differentially by content, site,
platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode
• Term was coined by Columbia University media law
professor Tim Wu in 2003 as an extension of the
longstanding concept of a common carrier
• Mainly affects content providers. Should cable and phone
companies be allowed to create a tiered pricing service for
some sites to operate faster than others?
• Should this be required by law?
WHAT DOESN’T IT MEAN?
• Doesn’t mean charging users for faster Internet
at the users’ location.
• Doesn’t mean setting up a government
regulated monopoly to run the Internet.
• Doesn’t affect a company’s ability to optimize a
website to improve performance.
• Vint Cerf, Tim Berners-Lee, Lawrence Lessig
• Companies like Yahoo, Ebay and Amazon
• Supporters of network neutrality want to designate
cable companies as common carriers, which would
require them to allow content providers free access
to cable lines for broadband/mobile, the same as dial-up
• Common carrier status would give the FCC the power to
enforce net neutrality rules.
• Without net neutrality:
• Would potentially give broadband carriers the ability to
control what you see and do online.
• Could reduce competition and limit innovation
• Comcast, AT&T, Bob Metcalfe, Ted Cruz, Mark Cuban
• Hands Off the Internet
• Allow tiered services for the faster transmission of packets
to some companies to allow for great profitability to invest
in the network.
• Free market control of Internet
• Government control could affect investing in and replacing
Internet infrastructure over time.
• Consider that the Internet is an important platform for new
businesses and services and the ways that we
communicate and connect on a more widespread basis
than any other platform in history.
• Initially mobile was considered differently than broadband,
but that position has since changed.
• Is this a perfect market?
• Is there enough competition to allow for consumer choice?
• How would this affect individuals’ and amateurs’ ability to
have their content consumed?
• Does Congress have enough people who understand the
Internet and the importance of this issue?
• Ideology? Government bad or good? Companies bad or
WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW?
• FCC has made a proposal to reclassify broadband/mobile
providers as common carriers under Title II of the
Communications Act of 1934
• Described by FCC as a “light-touch” implementation of Title
• The FCC’s original position was to allow cable companies
the ability to engage in “commercially reasonable” traffic
• Last year, the FCC had an open commenting period (120
days) on Net Neutrality. 3.7 million comments were made
on the FCC website. Fewer than 1% were opposed.
WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW?
• Tom Wheeler, former cable lobbyist, wrote article in Wired
defining the new FCC’s position, the common carrier
• Currently in “quiet period” before the Feb. 26 meeting where
the agency will vote.
• If this proposal passes, there will likely be lawsuits from
• Stay Tuned!