net neutrality

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net neutrality

(NETwork neutrality) A uniform playing field for Internet transport. Net neutrality is the absence of restrictions placed on the transmission of content by the major ISPs that provide service to millions of homes and offices. It means all packets are delivered on a first-come, first-served basis regardless from where they originated. Net neutrality became an issue as ISPs began to carry more movie streaming and voice traffic from competitors that delivered the same services they offered.

A Very Contentious Topic
Since its inception, the Internet has leveled the playing field for all participants. However, major ISPs such as Verizon, AT&T and Comcast have lobbied the FCC to be able to charge a website based on traffic. Although it might seem reasonable to charge sites that disseminate huge amounts of content, Internet users already pay ISPs for access. In addition, proponents warn about the implications down the road if net neutrality were abandoned. For example, owners of all websites might be forced to pay extra fees to prevent their content from bogging down in a low-priority delivery queue.

The July 2010 issue of "The Hightower Lowdown" said: "Forget the technology, net neutrality is about democracy itself-- the latest battleground in our nation's historic struggle for freedom of speech, a free press, and the free flow of information that We the People must have if, in fact, we are to be self-governing."

The Rulings
In 2010, the Open Internet Order of the FCC ruled that carriers cannot block or interfere with traffic because it conflicts with their financial goals. However, in 2014, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the order, stating that the FCC did not prove it had the legal authority to enforce such rules. Later in 2014, the FCC proposed allowing ISPs to create pay-to-play fast lanes; however, that was abandoned after a huge public outcry.

In February 2015, the FCC voted to regulate Internet service as a public utility. Based on certain provisions in Title II of the Communications Act, the new rules treat both wired and wireless Internet connections as a telecom service rather than an information service. No sooner was the ink dry that members of Congress who favor the ISPs' position began to propose legislation to counter the new ruling. Stay tuned! For more information, visit See dumb network and Freedom to Connect.
References in periodicals archive ?
However, for the purpose of this paper, this policy action further undermines the argument for yet another layer of regulatory guarantee by way of net neutrality regulation.
to answer the fears of net neutrality proponents, until the broadband
But in the pessimistic and we hope unlikely case where Act II turns the net neutrality play into a tragedy, then Act III will take place in a world where underinvestment will have caused severe inroads to net neutrality, where a few vertically integrated Internet or telecom giants will have taken control over most aspects of the Internet, where captive and passive consumers will have been deprived of universal access to all content, where impotent regulators will have failed to give players the right incentives.
Proponents of net neutrality have long argued that such restrictions are necessary to prevent broadband providers from leveraging their market power to adversely affect Internet development and operation.
Industry experts widely believe the Net neutrality rules will eventually wind up in federal court and, ultimately, come before Congress.
But now Google seems to be turning its back on its previous commitment to net neutrality.
The agency had hoped to broaden the definition by proposing two more principles, which would formalize nondiscrimination, the fundamental core of net neutrality, and extend the principles to include wireless networks.
The ruling shook the foundation of the FCC's governance over net neutrality and highlighted the weaknesses in the current regulatory scheme.
However, Google and Verizon have put forward a proposal to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), to essentially retain this net neutrality on the public internet but to allow broadband operators and network operators to offer new services that might be discriminate in terms of their price and speed.
A EC declaration attached to the package clarified the institution's position on net neutrality: "The Commission attaches high importance to preserving the open and neutral character of the internet, taking full account of the will of the co-legislators now to enshrine net neutrality as a policy objective and regulatory principle to be promoted by national regulatory authorities, alongside the strengthening of related transparency requirements and the creation of safeguard powers for national regulatory authorities to prevent the degradation of services and the hindering or slowing down of traffic over public networks.
As the net neutrality debate heats up on Capitol Hill, NTCA will continue to advocate for a balanced approach that offers both consumer protections and developmental incentives that benefit both Internet users and providers.
Today, we weigh in with our opinion on the net neutrality debate -- and we begin by saying we have not changed our original opinion in favor of net neutrality even in a wireless environment.