The Network Neutrality Battles that Will Follow Reclassification
I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society, Forthcoming
23 Pages Posted: 20 Jun 2016
Date Written: March 2015
In 2015, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a new set of network neutrality rules for the Internet. In the process, the FCC declared for the first time that broadband Internet access service is a telecommunications service, which means that the FCC has authority to regulate broadband Internet access services under Title II of the Communications Act. Even if the 2015 Report and Order that reclassifies Internet access withstands the inevitable efforts to overturn it, many of the most important aspects of network neutrality policy have yet to be determined. This paper describes the important next steps in the network neutrality policy debate that will follow the March 2015 Report and Order. The first step is likely to occur in the courts after a legal challenge, and this paper explains why reclassification is consistent with the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The next step will occur at the FCC, because some of the most important policy issues were left unresolved in the 2015 Report and Order. We cannot know the real meaning of network neutrality policy until those issues are decided. Finally, network neutrality policy will be debated in Congress. This paper presents various forms that legislation might take.
Keywords: Network Neutrality, Open Internet, Federal Communications Commission, Specialized Service, Managed Service, Reclassification, Common Carrier, Non BIAS Data Service, Telecommunications Act
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