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November 22, 2006

Net Neutrality

Broadband and the Public Interest

The Comparative Media Studies graduate students have been discussing current policy debates around "net neutrality." The phrase, "net neutrality," is in broad circulation at the moment but I suspect many people out there are not familiar with the core terms of the debate or how it impacts them. Stephen J. Schultze, a first year CMS masters student, asked if he might share some of his perspectives on this issue...

"Telecommunications policy wasn't exactly a hot-button issue in the midterm elections, but the resulting power shift in Congress could affect the trajectory of the Internet for years to come. Most of us are fairly satisfied with our day-to-day Internet experience. Why involve the bureaucrats when things are working just fine?

The problem is that things aren't working just fine. When it comes to broadband, we are falling embarrassingly far behind much of the rest of the world. On the heels of the elections, FCC commissioner Michael Copps wrote an editorial in the Washington Post entitled "America's Internet Disconnect." He noted that according to one study of "digital opportunity," the US ranks 21st in the world, right behind Estonia. We rely on private companies operating according to their market interests to connect us, and these companies have become more consolidated and less competitive in the last several years. Unfortunately, our telecommunications policy has failed to address the market failure that has left millions of Americans with limited and expensive options for broadband access - or none at all..." Continue reading [posted by Henry Jenkins on Confessions of an Aca/Fan]

Posted by jo at November 22, 2006 10:38 AM