What net neutrality is (and isn’t)

Image credit: Net Neutrality in Focus, Geneva Internet Platform — https://www.giplatform.org/resources/net-neutrality-focus


Internet Society
By Mark Buell Regional Bureau Director, North America


There are few Internet policy issues as divisive as net neutrality, neither are there many issues that apparently elicit such passion. At the root of the debate is, in my opinion, not necessarily the principles of net neutrality; rather, I believe it is in the mechanism used to enforce it.

While there is no single interpretation of what net neutrality is, there are certain accepted principles set forth by Timothy Wu (who coined the term in 2003) that are widely accepted. This includes the principle that all traffic on the Internet should be treated equally or ‘neutrally’ by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) without blocking, throttling or discriminating against a competitor’s content or services.

Over the years, almost all participants in the Internet ecosystem—from civil society and public advocates to the largest Silicon Valley tech companies to ISPs themselves—have come around to agreeing with this general version of these principles.

The Internet Society published a policy brief on net neutrality in 2015. In this brief, we outline how openness is a fundamental value that has contributed to the success of the Internet, both in the U.S. and around the world. We have always supported the values of a truly global and open Internet based on transparency, access and choice.


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2 Responses to What net neutrality is (and isn’t)

  1. Bruce says:

    Repealing Obama’s Net Neutrality a Blow for Freedom

    American Thinker
    by Daniel John Sobieski


  2. Bruce says:

    The Internet Is Free Again

    Killing Obama-era rules will remove the FCC as political gatekeeper.

    The Wall Street Journal
    by The Editorial Board


    Disney’s deal announced Thursday to buy some premium 21st Century Fox properties for $52.4 billion underscores how technology is remaking the media landscape. This discomfits some, but the Federal Communications Commission is right to let markets steer competition and innovation.

    The FCC on Thursday voted 3-2 to approve chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to repeal “net neutrality” rules backed by the Obama Administration that reclassified internet-service providers as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. Title II prohibits “any unjust or unreasonable discrimination in charges, practices, classifications, regulations, facilities, or services.”

    By effectively deeming the internet a utility, former chairman Tom Wheeler turned the FCC into a political gatekeeper. The rules prohibited broadband providers from blocking, throttling and favoring content, which Mr. Wheeler ostensibly intended to help large content providers like Google and Netflix gain leverage against cable companies.

    But as always in politics, treatment under the rules would depend on ideology and partisanship. Even as liberals howl that the Justice Department’s lawsuit to block AT&T’s merger with Time Warner is motivated by President Trump’s animus to CNN, they want FCC control over the internet. The left’s outcry at Mr. Pai “killing” internet freedom has been so overwrought that the FCC meeting room had to be cleared Thursday for a security threat.


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