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English 102
November 20, 2014
Net Neutrality and the Open Internet
Net Neutrality is the principle that all internet traffic and data should be treated
equally. Internet traffic and data includes websites, content, and web platforms. Many believe
that Net Neutrality preserves the right to free speech online, and should be a main guiding
principle to the internet itself. This can also be translated as Open Internet, where the Internet
and its content are fully accessible by all individuals and companies. With Open Internet, the
service provider wouldnt be allowed to discriminate your data, block specific websites, or
charge you extra for content that would, otherwise, be provided for free via the Internet (Ingram).
The Open Internet also ensures that the pathway for all Internet traffic flows in the same manner
with the same quality, and speed, to the delivered user (Cook).When the Federal courts made a
ruling against the FCC and Net Neutrality, they virtually abolished any remaining protections
that protected the Open Internet. The ruling now allows the Internet service providers to charge
extra for their data, block any websites, and filter any content they want. Internet service
providers are now taking the worst facets of cable TV systems/techniques, and forcing them onto
the internet; controlling every aspect of the market.
In 2010, the FCC created an Open Internet Order which prevented the Internet service
providers from interfering, or blocking specific traffic on the World Wide Web (Barrons
Educational Series). The order was designed so that the Internet would be a level playing field
between the consumer and the Internet service providers. However, in January 2014, the federal
courts ruled against the Federal Communication Commissions ability to enforce the standards of
Net Neutrality on the Internet service providers. The reasoning concluded that the FFC was

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using questionable legal frameworks to create the Open Internet Order, which ultimately lead to
their demise of authority over the Internet service providers.
The courts did not rule against Net Neutrality itself, but specifically against the Federal
Communication Commissions authority to enforce rules on the Internet service providers. The
court specified that its task as a reviewing court is not to assess the wisdom of the Open Internet
Order regulations, but rather to determine whether the Commission has demonstrated that the
regulations fall within the scope of its statutory grant of authority (Tatel). This decision was also
reached because of the FCCs mistake in 2002, in which Michael Powell, the then chair of the
FCC, classified Internet service providers as information services, rather than common carriers
On the bright side, the courts decision did not prohibit the FCC from reversing their
earlier placed orders, and can reclassify the Internet service providers as common carriers. A
common carrier is legal classification for a person, and or company, whom provides goods.
Common carriers are often referred to as public utilities, which provide water, electricity, and
public transportation. These CCs are legally prohibited from refusing service or discriminating
against their customers, which ultimately provides a barrier of protection to the consumer. If the
FCC classified Internet service providers under common carriers, then it would restore Net
Neutrality completely, but the latest FCC Chairmen have worked against Net Neutrality.
In 1996, Congress enacted the Telecommunications Act, the first major law passed for
telecommunications companies in over 60 years. The goal of the law was to allow anyone to start
a communications business, and permitted communications businesses to compete against each
other in any market. Congress understood that Internet service providers could gain massive
amounts of power by controlling the access networks and gateways, so they advised the FFC to

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treat the Internet service providers as common carriers. During this time, the Internet service
providers couldnt block content that flowed across their network to the consumers network
devices. Later, FCC Chairmen Michael Powell and Kevin Martin defined broadband Internet
service providers as information services. There was controversy and claims of conflict of
interests due to Chairman Powell and Kevin Martin becoming top lobbyists for the Cable
Telecommunications industry after their tenure (Oliver). Their decisions stripped the FCCs
power to prohibit the Internet service providers ability to discriminate and block online content;
also limiting the FFCs assurance on protecting the privacy of the consumer.
Thanks to the lack of power within the FCC, Internet service providers can monitor and
track their customers online activity with no legal repercussions. This information could be used
for many malicious purposes like blackmail, unwanted advertising, and the consumers
information could also be sold. The companies could have complete control over the Internet and
the devices used to connect users. The Internet service providers could require the Internet
consumer to only use the network devices provided by the Internet service provider itself, and
could dictate what websites and content they can connect to (Wu). A demonstration of this is the
use of highways. Theoretically speaking, if General Motors owned the Federal Highway System,
they could discriminate against any other brands of motor vehicles; not allowing them to use the
highway. If non-GM vehicles wanted access to the highway, GM could deny the other cars
access. Comcast could deploy this same practice onto Netflix, by blocking their customers from
accessing to the competing streaming service. This would force Comcast customers to use their
provided streaming service only. Not only would this provide a monopoly for Internet service
providers, but it would also impact the majority of businesses.

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The Open Internet is imperative for businesses globally. In todays economy, the online
presence of a business is crucial to their success. Businesses use the Internet to advertise, create
markets, promote competition, breed innovation, and to delivers goods and services to their
customers. Without Net Neutrality, these businesses face incredible discrimination. Senator Ryan
Wyden was quoted saying Without rules to guarantee all web traffic travels on the same track
the economic might of big corporations will shove out competition from start-ups and disruptive
technologies, depriving Americans of the next wave of innovative services and products. With
the lack of Net Neutrality, the open market could be interfered with, and inevitably destroyed.
Internet service providers could manipulate the market and control every possible aspect of
online business, eliminating any sort of competition against their massive corporations
In conclusion, Net Neutrality can preserve the freedom of the internet. Internet service
providers are positioning themselves to gain obscene amounts of power, and to take control of
the consumer. In order to preserve the rights of the consumer, the FCC will have to intervene and
reclassify the Internet service providers as common carriers. When the Internet service providers
are classified as common carriers, consumers will be protected under Federal law. Without the
intervention of the Federal Communications Committee, the Internet will be forever changed.

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Works Cited
Ammori, Marvin. "The Case for Net Neutrality." The Case for Net Neutrality. 93.4 (2014): 6273. Ebsco. Web. 20 Nov. 2014.
Becker, Gary S., Dennis W. Carlton, and Hal S. Sider. NET NEUTRALITY AND CONSUMER
WELFARE. Vol. 6. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2010. 497-517. Ser. 3. Oxford Journals. Web. 17 Nov.
2014. <http://jcle.oxfordjournals.org/content/6/3/497.abstract>.
Cook, Vickie S. "Net Neutrality: What Is It and Why Should Educators Care?" Delta Kappa Gamma
Bulletin 80.4 (2014): 46-49. Ebsco Host. Summer 2014. Web. 20 Nov. 2014.
Downing, Douglas, Michael A. Covington, and Melody Mauldin. Covington. Dictionary of Computer
and Internet Terms. Hauppauge, NY: Barron's, 2006. Print.
Driessen, Katherine. "Top 5 Quotes from Sen. Ron Wyden's Net Neutrality Chat on
Reddit." OregonLive.com. Http://www.oregonlive.com/, 13 Mar. 2014. Web. 17 Nov. 2014.
Federal Communications Comission. "FCC - Telecommunications Act of 1996." FCC Telecommunications Act of 1996. Federal Communications Commission, 31 May 2011. Web. 13
Nov. 2014. <http://transition.fcc.gov/telecom.html>.

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Ingram, Matthew. "Open vs. Closed: What Kind of Internet Do We Want?" Gigaom. Gigaom.com, 23
Mar. 2012. Web. 17 Nov. 2014. <https://gigaom.com/2012/03/23/open-vs-closed-what-kind-ofinternet-do-we-want/>.
L, United States Court of Appeals, comp. United States Court of Appeals. St. Louis, MO: United States
COMMISSION. United States Court of Appeals, 13 July 2014. Web. 17 Nov. 2014.
Oliver, John. "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Net Neutrality (HBO)." YouTube. YouTube, 1 June
2014. Web. 22 June 2014. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpbOEoRrHyU>.
Save the Internet. "The Fight to Save Net Neutrality." Save the Internet. FreePress, n.d. Web. 17 Nov.
2014. <http://www.savetheinternet.com/net-neutrality-resources>.
2006. Web. 15 Nov. 2014.