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Net Neutrality: What You Need to Know

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Presentation given in Digital Media Entrepreneurship class.

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Net Neutrality: What You Need to Know

  1. 1. NET NEUTRALITY: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
  2. 2. 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 of communication. • 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?
  3. 3. 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.
  4. 4. THE SIDES Advocates • 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 Internet. • 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
  5. 5. THE SIDES Opponents • 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.
  6. 6. OTHER ISSUES • 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 good?
  7. 7. 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 II • The FCC’s original position was to allow cable companies the ability to engage in “commercially reasonable” traffic management. • 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.
  8. 8. WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW? • Tom Wheeler, former cable lobbyist, wrote article in Wired defining the new FCC’s position, the common carrier classification. • Currently in “quiet period” before the Feb. 26 meeting where the agency will vote. • If this proposal passes, there will likely be lawsuits from cable companies. • Stay Tuned!

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