US should look to Brazil and the EU for strong net neutrality rules

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[Commentary] In Brazil, network neutrality was officially codified at the beginning of the NETMundial conference, a multistakeholder Internet governance convening in Sao Paolo in late April 2014.

The signing of the Marco Civil da Internet -- commonly referred to as Brazil’s Internet bill of rights -- was a huge victory for advocates of a free and open Internet, who have been pushing for the bill to pass with strong language for years.

According to the final language, ISPs are not allowed to “offer services in non-discriminatory commercial conditions” and must “refrain from anti-competition practices.”

The progress made in Brazil and the EU stands in stark contrast to what’s happening here in the US. After the court struck down the Open Internet rules in January 2014, it seemed like the Federal Communications Commission had a clear path to reinstate net neutrality: reclassify broadband as a Title II telecommunications service.

Reclassification would allow the FCC to treat broadband providers as common carriers, meaning it could implement clear and strong new rules that would prevent discrimination, blocking, and could even address paid prioritization issues. Instead, a watered down set of proposed rules was leaked to the press in April, which would address some discrimination issues but would create an even larger loophole for ISPs to charge for fast lanes.

[Kehl is a policy analyst with the Open Technology Institute at the New America Foundation]

US should look to Brazil and the EU for strong net neutrality rules Hasthag Activism & Visiting North Korea (New America Foundation)