Links Concerning the Recent Net Neutrality Rulings

Internet map 1024 - transparent Image created by Matt Britt using data from the Opte Project.

The Net neutrality debate continues to unfold. On January 14, in the Verizon v. FCC case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the Federal Communications Commission overstepped its authority in imposing “open Internet rules” on the Internet Service Provider (ISP) Verizon Communications, Inc.

Currently, all legally permissible information on the Internet travels with equal priority and at the same speeds. Yet as more ISPs go deeper into the business of providing content such as on-demand video and news sites, along with the hardware that allows for all content exchange, many have speculated that ISPs might increasingly utilize a competitive advantage.

What if providers leverage their ownership of the physical infrastructure to favor the consumption of their own content? What if competitive sites were the recipients of lower download speeds and became less desirable to use? ISPs starting to exercise this control over their customers’ Web experiences could have huge ramifications in a space usually associated with freedom and innovation.

Along with the rest of the legal world, TexasBarBooks is watching closely. Here are some interesting resources on the topic:

  • The American Bar Association released a bulletin that includes reputable news links and a succinct summary of the ruling.
  • Forbes provides an article attempting to contextualize the speculated changes in ISPs’ operations by comparing them to a singles bar, the dry cleaners, and credit card companies.
  • The American Library Association (ALA) continues its outspoken campaign in favor of Net neutrality (which in their view equates to free speech), while Verizon posts a blog entry reiterating its commitment to open Internet policies despite the ruling in their favor.
  • And lastly, many take for granted that the Internet connects the world through an actual physical infrastructure. TeleGeography reminds us of this by offering a map that charts the submarine wiring and another interactive map with hundreds of Internet exchange sites across the globe. The wiring and exchange points are generally under private ownership and are entities that require material and maintenance.

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