Network Neutrality: A Research Guide

HANDBOOK OF INTERNET RESEARCH, I. Brown, ed., Edward Elgar, 2012

19 Pages Posted: 28 May 2011

See all articles by Christopher Marsden

Christopher Marsden

Monash University - Faculty of Law; Monash University, Faculty of Law

Date Written: May 26, 2011


The conclusion in a research handbook should emphasise the complexity of the problem than trying to claim a one-size-fits-all solution. I have categorised net neutrality into positive and negative (content discrimination) net neutrality indicating the latter as potentially harmful. Blocking content without informing customers appropriately is wrong: if it says ‘Internet service’, it should offer an open Internet (alongside walled gardens if that is expressly advertised as such). The issue of uncontrolled Internet flows versus engineered solutions is central to the question of a ‘free’ versus regulated Internet. A consumer- and citizen-orientated intervention depends on passing regulations to prevent unregulated nontransparent controls exerted over traffic via DPI equipment, whether imposed by ISPs for financial advantage or by governments eager to use this new technology to filter, censor and enforce copyright against their citizens. Unraveling the previous ISP limited liability regime risks removing the efficiency of that approach in permitting the free flow of information for economic and social advantage. These conclusions support a light-touch regulatory regime involving reporting requirements and co-regulation with, as far as is possible, market-based solutions. Solutions may be international as well as local, and international coordination of best practice and knowledge will enable national regulators to keep up with the technology ‘arms race’.

Keywords: Network neutrality, Quality of Service, Internet law, regulation, research method

JEL Classification: H41, K00, K23, L13, L44, L96

Suggested Citation

Marsden, Christopher T., Network Neutrality: A Research Guide (May 26, 2011). HANDBOOK OF INTERNET RESEARCH, I. Brown, ed., Edward Elgar, 2012, Available at SSRN:

Christopher T. Marsden (Contact Author)

Monash University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800

Monash University, Faculty of Law ( email )

15 Imparo Ancora Way
Clayton, VIC 3800

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