The Future of Net Neutrality and the Federal Communications Commission

Contributed by Michael Haythorn

In this paper we discuss one of the largest active debates regarding the installment of a regulatory standard over the Internet in the United States. The debate is regarding the concept of applying regulation(s) in order to maintain the existence of an open internet. This concept is also known as net neutrality. Like all debates, there are proponents and critics positioned to argue for or against the issue at hand based on varieties of historical evidence, media coverage, emotional context, current trends and future responsibilities. In January of 2014, two key aspects of the Open Internet Order, established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 2010 were vacated in a court ruling by the United States government. This ruling has since been viewed as a great loss for the future of net neutrality. Instead of appealing the decision, the FCC decided with a five member panel to establish an open call to the public for commentary on the best way address regulation on the Internet. In its wake, this decision spurred unprecedented public debate regarding a regulatory standard. The FCC panel’s decision made the public responsible for providing their opinion on the most effective way to resolve this issue. As this debate is currently active, it makes this an ideal time to produce a technical paper discussing net neutrality and the opposing viewpoints held within.

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