In Cyber Safety, The Digital World

Why Net Neutrality is a 21st Century Phenomenon

The definition of net neutrality is the principle that all internet service providers should treat data without legal bias, namely charging deferentially by user, content, site, platform, application, equipment, or communication. The term was developed by Columbia media law professor Tim Wu as an extension of a common carrier. Advocacy in this regard has meant that today net neutrality explained is seen as an important component of an open internet. Policies which favor this outcome allow users of the internet to communicate and conduct business without barriers including interference from a third party.

Here are some key points in the pros and cons of net neutrality debate. The higher education community has relinquished its previous stance when they participated in the development and expansion of the original internet to keep it completely free. Today, they support commercialization due to its need to strengthen the internet with demands of retail organizations.

Since 1996, the Telecommunications Act has promoted competition and deregulation. Academics have repealed the compromise allowed by the courts whereby the federal government permitted a telephone monopoly in return for a system of universal service. The days of telephone monopoly deregulation are regarded by many as an omen for the internet when deregulation occurs. Such a new day when deregulation rules is feared by many advocates of net neutrality.

An important question in determining what does net neutrality mean is big companies such Google’s thinking or google net neutrality. After many years of keeping their views private, Google announced that it will oppose efforts by large internet providers to place hurdles in the way of customer experience by allowing large internet providers to speed up, slow down, or manipulate traffic. Strongly advocating net neutrality Google has recently spoken out on in its favor through industry groups and think tanks. This is the first time since 2010 that Google has stated its policy position. “If Internet access providers can block some services and cut special deals that prioritize some companies’ content over others, that would threaten the innovation that makes the Internet awesome,” adding “(N)o Internet access provider should block or degrade Internet traffic, nor should they sell ‘fast lanes’ that prioritize particular Internet services over others.”

As part of their advocacy, Free Press, along with a broad coalition of organizations delivered to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) a net neutrality petition with a million signatures asking to restore federal protections. The petition explains current support for net neutrality through presenting a cogent understanding of all aspects of the law that define net neutrality. The petition advises that ‘a simple move that would allow it to pass robust net neutrality rules that would actually hold up in court. Without net neutrality, the internet as we know it could be a relic of the past.”

Since then, the courts have enforced net neutrality ruling stating providers should not be allowed to charge different prices for using the internet to access different services because it would restrict the way people use the internet to the benefit of corporations. The court told the FCC it had overstepped its bounds and needed to rewrite the rules. The FCC has plans to propose a new set of rules to begin regulation of ISP’s and re-establish net neutrality.

To better acquaint readers some net neutrality pros and cons must be understood. Consumer activists have repeatedly urged the FCC to reclassify the internet as a “telecommunications service” under the Communications Act. This legal maneuver will allow the FCC to make regulations as it sees fit. However, Broadband providers and Republicans look upon such a net neutrality legislation as a governmental intrusion and are fiercely opposed. They have become the main proponents for the arguments against net neutrality.

In the 113th Congress, the “(O)pen internet preservation act was introduced in the United States Congress. The net neutrality law restores the earlier rules made by the FCC that were nullified in the Verizon versus the FCC ruling. Since then, a slew of new bills have been introduced. One net neutrality act by Democrats known as the “On line competition and Consumer Choice Act” will prohibit Internet service providers from giving preferential treatment to the traffic of on line content, applications, services, or devices.” In response, the Republicans have introduced the “Internet Freedom Act.”

The bill removes the regulations by the FCC to establish net neutrality and nullifies its contract thereby ensuring that the FCC never again issue such regulations in the future. Finally, it exempts from such prohibitions any regulations that the FCC determines are necessary to “prevent damage to U.S. national security, ensure public safety, or assist or facilitate actions taken by a federal or state law enforcement agency.” As of today, the only net neutrality bill in the United States Congress is one where the “rules of the Federal Communications Commission relating to preserving the open Internet and broadband industry practices shall be restored.”

Recent net neutrality news reported President Obama’s support. As of today there are many net neutrality articles In the ongoing effort to cover the time line of legislation, the Washington Tribune wrote as early as June, 2010 that “the FCC voted to begin controversial process aimed at regulating high-speed Internet starting the controversial process of reclassifying high-speed Internet access as a tightly regulated telecommunications service, which could pave the way for adopting rules that prevent service providers from giving priority to some types of content traveling through their networks. The commission voted… to collect public comments about a new regulatory framework that would make Internet service providers subject to some of the same nondiscrimination rules as telephone companies.” In early 2014, Factbox challenged its readers to decide on net neutrality definition by telling them about “what is net neutrality.”

In May, 2014, Reuters reported that “Netflix, another on-line giant came out in full support of any and all proposals to augment net neutrality. It said that (A)fter weeks of public outcry, Netflix Inc brought its concerns about Internet neutrality directly to U.S. regulators this week in meetings with Federal Communications Commission staff. The video streaming company has been outspoken in its push to do away with fees that content companies pay Internet service providers to deliver their video and other data to consumers.”

In June of 2014, Reuter’s published another report discussing the events in which the “U.S. Federal Communications Commission is collecting public comments until Sept. 10 on new “net neutrality” or “open Internet rules” that may let service providers charge content companies for faster and more reliable delivery of their traffic to users.” The news outlet Variety in June, 2014 printed a story called “Mayors Call for Preventing ‘Paid Prioritization’ on Internet.” It went on to add that the country’s mayor’s had passed a resolution urging the FCC , Congress and the White House to support rules that would prevent Internet providers from charging content providers to obtain preferential access to consumers.” Grant Gross an independent reporter, wrote in September, 2014 that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission stated “it needed to create explicit rules that tell broadband providers what traffic management techniques they can and cannot use.”

He wrote that the “FCC needs to reclassify broadband as a common-carrier, public utility service in order to have a firm regulatory foundation to take net neutrality enforcement actions.” Furthermore in a forum on intellectual property, a Harvard Law School professor called on the FCC to provide “strong prohibitions against broadband providers selectively blocking or slowing Web traffic so that the FCC supported neutrality rules pegged to Title II of the Communications Act, a section of the law that has focused on requirements for common-carrier telephone companies.” She added that “Consumers are really collateral damage in some Titanic battles between these terminating [broadband] monopolies at the interconnection points and edge providers. The government is the only entity that can take on these companies.”

However, two broadband trade groups, the National Cable And Telecommunications Association and the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association opposed calls for the FCC to adopt public utility-style net neutrality rules, saying the “dozens of regulations in Title II would create a long and expensive process for net neutrality complaints.” The National Cable and Telecommunications Association ’s senior vice president for law and regulatory policy representing cable broadband providers stated that they support ““reasonable” net neutrality rules at the FCC, but the agency should focus on adopting overarching principles and enforcing violations on a case-by-case basis.” Lawyers from the trade group, the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association are also opposed decrying that “new traffic management rules would pose “significant real” costs for the approximately 3,000 small wireless ISPs across the U.S stating that these small start-ups have “no record of bad behavior” related to net neutrality.

The FCC can recognize the value of small ISPs by “not saddling them with a one-size-fits-all regulatory approach that will increase costs, deter investment, stifle innovation and slow the deployment of critically important broadband service.” The trade group’s management called for “”regulatory certainty” that defines reasonable network management practices that Internet service providers, or ISPs are allowed to use. They argued that the FCC require “good faith” negotiations between groups complaining about potential net neutrality violations and Internet service providers before a formal complaint can be filed.” The Association’s complaint was centered around the FCC 2010 rules where the FCC “created a vast, grey area where it’s very difficult to quantify the risk and assess the risk. If you’re a small ISP, and you’re looking for money, and the banker says, ‘I see you have this net neutrality complaint, tell me what that means,’ I can’t sit there and say it’s a $1 problem or a $1 million problem.”
There are debates within the commercial broadband companies where company’s such as Kickstarter have advocated the need for immediate Title II regulation because of the market power and resources of Comcast, AT&T, Verizon Communications and Time Warner. Kickstarter argued that “(M)any Web-based services don’t have the money to engage in protracted net neutrality fights with the largest broadband providers. Without strong net neutrality enforcement, broadband providers could drive Web startups out of business before the FCC rules on case-by-case violations.” The company’s chief complaint has been the large purse of their bigger competitors such as Netflix. They have noted that “we don’t have billions or even millions of dollars and hundreds of lawyers to devote to just making sure we can get our product out there. The imbalance of power here is so enormous that our ability to even exist is based on these rules, and based on the ability to have strong, bright line rules.”

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