What's New in the Network Neutrality Debate

40 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2014

See all articles by Rob Frieden

Rob Frieden

Pennsylvania State University - Dickinson School of Law; Pennsylvania State University, Bellisario College of Communications and Penn State Law

Date Written: September 26, 2014

Abstract

For over ten years, academics, practitioners, policy makers, consumers and other stakeholders have debated whether and how governments should regulate the Internet with an eye toward promoting accessibility, affordability and neutrality. This issue has triggered grave concerns about the Internet’s ability to continue generating substantial and widespread benefits. Advocates for various outcomes have vastly different assessments about many baseline subjects including the viability of sustainable competition and self-regulation. Consumers become agitated and confused by different framing of the issues, particularly when participants in the Internet ecosystem cannot reach closure on interconnection and compensation issues. Increasingly these disputes trigger temporary degradation in service leaving consumers unclear why they cannot view “must see” video content free of congestion.

This paper will report on how the network neutrality/open Internet debate persists with an eye toward identifying new problems and opportunities for resolution. The paper concludes that developments in the Internet ecosystem will trigger more conflicts in the near term. Increasingly the Internet has become the primary broadband medium for information, communications and entertainment (“ICE”), including an ever increasing torrent of bit streams running from the Internet cloud downstream to individual subscribers served by “retail” Internet Service Providers (“ISP”) that install so-called first and last mile connections. Growing reliance on the Internet to deliver bandwidth intensive content to multiple screens has triggered more disputes on the technical way to interconnect networks as well as the financial compensation owed. How quickly parties can resolve their disputes will have a profound impact on whether governments need to intervene to ensure robust networks capable of accommodating ever increasing demand.

Keywords: network neutrality, open Internet, interconnection, peering, best efforts routing

JEL Classification: K23, K29, L86, L96, L98, O32, O33

Suggested Citation

Frieden, Rob, What's New in the Network Neutrality Debate (September 26, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2502122 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2502122

Rob Frieden (Contact Author)

Pennsylvania State University - Dickinson School of Law

Lewis Katz Building
University Park, PA 16802
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.personal.psu.edu/faculty/r/m/rmf5/

Pennsylvania State University, Bellisario College of Communications and Penn State Law ( email )

102 Carnegie Building
University Park, PA 16802
United States
814-863-7996 (Phone)
814-863-8161 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.personal.psu.edu/faculty/r/m/rmf5/

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