The Debate Over Net Neutrality Laws

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In 2005, Vonage, a phone company that transmits telephone calls over the internet or voice over internet protocol, complains to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) about an unknown service provider blocking their telephone service. The FCC investigated the complaint and found that Madison River, a telephone company, was responsible and ordered them to stop blocking data sent from Vonage (Higginbotham, 2010). This incident was one of the first cases of an internet service provider discriminating against data sent over the internet because Vonage and Madison River are competing telephone service companies. Because of this, the FCC proposed a set of principles which sparked the beginning of net neutrality legislation that has been submitted to Congress over the past few years (Higginbotham, 2010). “Preserving the open internet” is the latest net neutrality legislation and aims to set some basic rules in order to maintain fairness on the internet for consumers, businesses, content providers, and service providers. Public interest groups and content providers fear tiered pricing structures and data discrimination and hope “Preserving the open internet” legislation is passed to protect them, while internet service providers argue they need to maximize their network efficiency and profitability to produce innovative products and services and stand against the proposed “Preserving the open internet” legislation.

Since the Vonage case in 2005, the FCC drafted a set of principles which were used as guidelines to follow in governing over complaints that were sent to the FCC. Other complaints to the FCC followed such as Comcast blocking file sharing applications (Higginbotham, 2010) and Telus blocking web sites (Cesarini, 2008) which...

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...Greenfield, R. (2006, June). The Net Neutrality Debate: The Basics. EDUCAUSE Review. Retrieved on October 21, 2011, from http://www.educause.edu/EDUCAUSE+Review/EDUCAUSEReviewMagazineVolume41/TheNetNeutralityDebateTheBasic/158063

Higginbotham, S. (2010, December 21). A Net Neutrality Timeline: How We Got Here. GigaOM. Retrieved on October 21, 2011, from http://gigaom.com/2010/12/21/a-net-neutrality-timeline-how-we-got-here/

Plumer, B. (2010, December 4). Tech-Tock Why it’s time to put an end to the net-neutrality debate. The New Republic. Retrieved on October 12, 2011, from http://www.tnr.com/article/79646/tech-tock-net-neutrality-debate

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