Information that is published or distributed in a digital form, including text, data, sound recordings, photographs and images, motion pictures, and software.
Network neutrality mandates have been made out either as necessary to ensure a level playing field in online markets or, alternatively, as overly restrictive regulation preventing innovation and investment. However, there is little empirical research on the consequences of data throttling, which becomes legal without network neutrality regulations. We combine throughput levels measured for mobile internet service providers in the United States with usage data to explore how sensitive users are to such practices.
The Federal Communications Commission currently regulates broadband internet access service (BIAS, if you will) as an "information service" under Title I of the Communications Act. As the FCC contemplates reclassifying BIAS as a telecommunications service under Title II's common-carrier framework, the question is whether the FCC has authority to do so. Federal appeals courts have upheld previous FCC decisions on whether to apply common carrier rules to broadband.
Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) are amplifying a crisis for human rights online. While AI technology offers exciting and beneficial uses for science, education, and society at large, its uptake has also increased the scale, speed, and efficiency of digital repression. Automated systems have enabled governments to conduct more precise and subtle forms of online censorship. Purveyors of disinformation are employing AI-generated images, audio, and text, making the truth easier to distort and harder to discern.
Currently, no federal agency can effectively monitor or address broadband outages that threaten jobs, education, and public safety. And while the Federal Communications Commission has acted on a bipartisan basis to secure our communications networks against companies controlled by hostile foreign governments, the lack of specific authority over broadband leaves open a national security loophole.
Over 40 Republican senators signed a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel urging her to abandon her proposal to reinstate net neutrality rules. Re-imposing heavy-handed, public-utility regulations on the internet, they wrote, would threaten the progress our country has made since 2017, and it would steer our country out of the fast lane and into a world of less competition, less choice, less investment, slower speeds, and higher prices. Further, the FCC lacks this statutory authority over broadband internet access.
The debate around “net neutrality” is back, only this time there is even less chance that the matter will be settled for good. Consumers’ online rights still need protection, and restoring them for an open internet is worthwhile. Those pointing to internet service providers’ (ISP) “good behavior” are being disingenuous at best. The 2018 decision to reverse the Federal Communications Commission's earlier net neutrality rule was being challenged in court until 2020, by which point several states had set up or had in motion their own net neutrality regulations in the absence of a federal one.
Net neutrality regulations have been dead for years, and they should stay that way. Unfortunately, the Federal Communications Commission has moved to reopen and re-litigate the issue. FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel has initiated a new rule-making that would enact what are largely the same net neutrality rules tried back in 2016. The law has changed and markets have changed, and yet the arguments for and against net neutrality have largely remained the same.
The labor agreement that writers struck with studios and streaming platforms will likely accelerate the end to “peak TV," a decade that included an explosion of programming for viewers and job opportunities for talent in Hollywood. Streamers will have to find a way to pay increased talent costs—from the writers’ settlement, along with an earlier deal with directors and whatever is finalized with actors—without adding to their overall production costs. That will likely mean that companies will make fewer new shows and cancel even more that are on the bubble.