How the FCC's Net Neutrality Plan Breaks With 50 Years of History

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[Commentary] Did Obama really invent net neutrality? Even in a country with famously short attention spans, at least some people might have noticed that net neutrality has been around longer than that. So where did net neutrality come from? How did it get started? What’s now called the “net neutrality debate” is really a restatement of a classic question: How should a network’s owner treat the traffic that it carries? What rights, if any, should a network’s users have versus its owners? The question is ancient enough to be relevant to medieval bridges, railroad networks, and other “common carriers.” But let’s skip 500 years or so and keep the focus on telecommunications networks, where what we now call net neutrality policy really has two ancestors, both dating from the 1970s. [Tim Wu is a professor at Columbia Law School]


How the FCC's Net Neutrality Plan Breaks With 50 Years of History