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  December 2017
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Net neutrality is the idea that all internet traffic should be treated equally.

On Thursday, December 14th, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to repeal the net neutrality rules it adopted in 2015 by approving FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s Proposal to Restore Internet Freedom.

A key element of the 2015 rules (known as the Open Internet rules) was classifying the internet under Title II; that is, regulating broadband service as a utility. The internet became the digital equivalent of electricity and the telephone. Supporters of the Open Internet rules cheered that the FCC had strong legal authority to bar the companies from slowing or blocking web traffic or charging for faster passage across their networks. Yet opponents of the Title II classification argue that the regulations are unnecessary; they hamper job creation and free market competition, and meddle with broadband Internet Service Providers like Verizon and Comcast.

A major element of FCC Chairman Pai’s Proposal to Restore Internet Freedom returns broadband internet access service to its prior classification as an information service. Chairman Pai believes this “will promote future innovation and investment. And more investment in digital infrastructure will create jobs, increase competition, and lead to better, faster, cheaper Internet access for all Americans, especially those in rural and low-income areas.” Opponents’ biggest concern, now that Chairman Pai’s proposal has been approved, is that the internet will become pay-to-play technology with two tiers: one that has speedy service and one that is in the slow lane.

Several TAP scholars are world renown for their expertise in network neutrality, network architecture, and internet law. Over the years, their work has been integral in informing policymakers on how best to regulate broadband networks that are accessible to everyone, provide safeguards for consumers, and establish an environment where innovation can thrive. 

Below are some of the writings from TAP scholars on network neutrality and internet governance.

Read the latest TAP blogs about net neutrality…

FCC’s Rushed, Technically Flawed Decision Will Harm the Economy
Barbara van Schewick, December 19, 2017

Joshua Wright Presents an Antitrust Framework for Internet Governance
TAP Staff, December 18, 2017

Why the FCC Should Prevent ISPs from Micromanaging Our Lives
Evan Selinger and Brett Frischmann, December 12, 2017

Tim Wu Explains How the FCC’s Net Neutrality Plan Breaks with 50 Years of History
TAP Staff, December 8, 2017

The FCC Has Always Defended Net Neutrality. Why Stop Now?
Barbara van Schewick, December 1, 2017

Read seminal works from TAP scholars on net neutrality…
Internet Architecture and Innovation
Barbara van Schewick, Cambridge: MIT Press, 2010

Network Neutrality, Broadband Discrimination
Tim Wu, Journal of Telecommunications and High Technology Law, 2003

Tim Wu
How the FCC's Net Neutrality Plan Breaks With 50 Years of History

…the Pai proposal isn’t merely tinkering with some of the rules imposed by the Obama administration but, rather, is eliminating the FCC oversight in place for decades. He is, in fact, coming close to eliminating the agency as a relevant institution.

Christopher Yoo
What Will Happen if the FCC Abandons Net Neutrality?

Years ago, when ISPs were slowing down video traffic because of bandwidth issues, Netflix struck deals with them that are tantamount to “pay for play, or paid prioritization,” Yoo pointed out. “They get faster service and they get charged a fee…. It increased performance for Netflix customers and it gave them better guarantees. All the way around, it was a better experience for consumers. By banning all paid prioritization,” he said, “the FCC would create a “baby and the bathwater problem” — because it would throw out what’s good along with the bad.”

More TAP Scholars 

Barbara van Schewick
The FCC Has Always Defended Net Neutrality. Why Stop Now?

Nicholas Economides
The Economic Case that Net Neutrality Was Always Fundamentally Bad for the Internet

Kevin Werbach
What Will Happen if the FCC Abandons Net Neutrality?

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