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Net neutrality

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Net neutrality is primarily concerned with the transmission of data over digital service lines ("DSL") or broadband networks.

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History of Net Neutrality

For most internet users in the United States, DSL and broadband are the most common technology used by internet service providers ("ISP"). Some of the largest ISPs in the United States are America Online, Comcast, SBC Communication, Verizon and many others.

ISPs typically give you the option of purchasing a DSL, broadband, or cable internet connection by paying a flat monthly fee. Originally, ISPs only needed to charge a monthly fee because the content generated on the internet was easily viewed by its users. However, as the quality of data becomes more sophisticated, users are demanding more advanced technological services to meet their normal internet needs.

This new demand has led to a general discussion favoring a tiered pricing system rather than a flat monthly fee. Such a system would compensate ISPs for giving some users special access to internet content, while users who cannot afford the additional billing would not have access to the same data.

Net Neutrality Opponents

Proponents of a tiered system want the new fees to recoup the costs of meeting consumer demands. As user activity burgeons,  ISPs will need to invest more money in technological upgrades.

Net Neutrality Supporters

Since the internet's inception, every site has been giving equal treatment by ISPs thereby enabling various organizations to share their information freely. Supporters are concerned that a tiered pricing system would result in telecom companies censoring internet content.

The Federal Communications Commission has come out in support of rules that would prevent filtering or blocking of Internet content, which is in line with President Barack Obama's pledge to support net neutrality principles. However, on April 6, 2010 in Comcast v. FCC the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia overruled the Federal Communications Commission and decided to allow Comcast and other ISPs to restrict consumer's ability to access certain kinds of internet content.


On May 6, 2010, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Julius Genachowski, issued a prepared statement warning against the adverse impacts of the Comcast deicision. Chairman Genachowski stressed the importance of ensuring a solid legal foundation for protecting consumers, promoting innovation and job creation, and fostering a world-leading broadband infrastructure for all Americans.[1]


  1. http://www.broadband.gov/the-third-way-narrowly-tailored-broadband-framework-chairman-julius-genachowski.html

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