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Net Neutrality And The End Of The Equal Internet

The uproar over net neutrality.  We’ll look at the new F.C.C. push that critics charge will kill it.

Members of global advocacy group Avaaz stand next to a digital counter showing the number of petition signatures calling for net neutrality outside the Federal Communication Commission in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014. Avaaz joined other US advocacy groups to deliver more than a million signatures for a free and democratic internet to the FCC. (AP)

Members of global advocacy group Avaaz stand next to a digital counter showing the number of petition signatures calling for net neutrality outside the Federal Communication Commission in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014. Avaaz joined other US advocacy groups to deliver more than a million signatures for a free and democratic internet to the FCC. (AP)

“Net neutrality” has long been a holy of holies in the Internet world.  The idea – and by in large the fact – that everyone on the web competed on the same field, the same plane, at more or less the same speed.  That there were not fast lanes for established giants and slow lanes for newcomers.  That innovators could, therefore, come onto the internet and give fat cats a run for their money.  A new push by the Federal Communications Commission to reset the rules has the Internet world in uproar.  It’s all hitting the fan right now.  This hour On Point:  the firestorm over net neutrality and the web.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Brian Fung, technology policy reporter for the Washington Post. (@b_fung)

Siva Vaidhyanathan, chair of the department of media studies at the University of Virginia. Author of “The Googlization of Everything (And Why We Should Worry),” “The Anarchist In the Library” and “Copyrights and Copywrongs.” (@sivavaid)

Kevin Werbach, associate professor of legal studies and business ethnics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. Former counsel for new technology policy at the F.C.C. (@kwerb)

From Tom’s Reading List

Washington Post: Mozilla joins Netflix in calling for stronger net neutrality — “In a filing to the Federal Communications Commission and a  companion blog post on Monday, Mozilla has become the second tech titan after Netflix to take a position on the FCC’s latest proposed rules for net neutrality, the idea that all Internet traffic should be treated equally and not slowed or blocked. Mozilla argued that the commission should regulate a portion of what Internet service providers (ISPs) do under Title II of the Communications Act, the FCC’s congressional charter.”

The Atlantic: The Court’s Net-Neutrality Ruling Isn’t Actually That Bad — “Strangely, for a decision with supposedly huge business implications for a multi-centibillion-dollar sector at the heart of the Internet economy, the only ones who seemed to yawn were the traders on Wall Street. Stocks of both proponents and opponents of net neutrality hardly budged.  Maybe the traders know something the advocates don’t.”

Slate: The FCC Chairman’s Many Excuses — “Despite the outcry, Wheeler isn’t changing sides, he’s making excuses. In the past week, the chairman has published two blog posts and given one speech (at the cable lobbying association he used to head), while two law school professors, Kevin Werbach and Phil Weiser, have taken to the Huffington Post to defend him.”

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