Net Neutrality: A User's Guide
affiliation not provided to SSRN
Baker & McKenzie LLP, London
Computer, Law & Security Report 2006, Vol. 22, No. 6, p. 454
Net neutrality is a complex issue that has generated intense levels of political discussion in the United States, but which has yet to attract significant attention from regulators in the UK.
Nevertheless, the question of whether network operators should be restricted or prevented from blocking network traffic or prioritising certain traffic or traffic from particular sources is a significant one for a wide range of stakeholders in the digital networked economy. Network operators contend that the build costs for the next generation of networks are so high that they must be permitted to monetise their control over this infrastructure as efficiently as possible. Meanwhile, an eclectic mix of interests including content and service providers, free speech and special interest groups and entertainers argue that net neutrality regulation is necessary to guarantee that the internet's core values and social utility are preserved.
This article offers an introduction to the net neutrality from a UK perspective. The authors explain the technical, commercial, political and legal considerations that underpin the issue and suggest that whilst network neutrality regulation in its strongest incarnation is not practical or desirable, a level of regulatory action designed to enhance the choices of end-users is the best way forward.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 10
Keywords: Network Neutrality, access tiering, UK, Ofcom
JEL Classification: K20, K23
Date posted: August 22, 2006
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