Who controls and monitors the Media? In terms of the internet, this question cannot be answered without first identifying the major actors in producing content and providing access to that content within the network. In the case study of Net Neutrality we are able to reveal these actors as the FCC, ISPs, content providers, and consumers [the individual users]. This case study helps us better understand their roles in the internet, and the issues of control and monitoring of the internet as power struggles between these actors.
Net neutrality is the idea of an open and free internet for users and content.(FCC.gov) It has been an issue since 2010, when the FCC implemented rules upon ISPs that required the equal treatment of all content across the network. In January of 2014, a federal appeals court threw out these rules opening new loopholes that could result in larger ISP corporations creating two lanes of the internet, and charging content providers to move information across the faster lane. (Nagesh) The FCC has the power to propose new rules or enact regulatory statutes that would make the internet a utility, similar to phone service. While it has not made a decision on which action it will take, the FCC has allowed consumers to voice their opinions on the matter in an online comments section. (FCC.gov)
Discussion of this case study in class was largely based on the repercussions of this policy on the consumers’ access to media content. Limiting broadband speeds with fees could mean loading screens and extended buffering for online content. As discussed, it minimizes Freedom of Speech, by restraining the marketplace of ideas and our ability to share ideas. We also mentioned that restricting internet speeds could be a restraint to trade, because it will limit competition to only those who are willing to pay.
Cool links with more information:
Vimeo Net Neutrality protest video: http://vimeo.com/105602328
Article on online protest: http://online.wsj.com/articles/websites-plan-online-protest-backing-net-neutrality-wednesday-1410298792
Encyclopedia. PCmag.com. Accessed. 15 Sept. 2014.
Federal Communications Commission. (23 July 2014) FCC.gov. Accessed 15 Sept. 2014. http://www.fcc.gov/guides/open-internet.
House OKs 'Net Neutrality' Rules Ban."(11 Apr. 2011) CQ Weekly : 813. Web. 16 Sept. 2014. http://library.cqpress.com.lib-ezproxy.tamu.edu:2048/cqweekly/document.php?id=weeklyreport112-000003849549
Nagesh, Gautham. (14 Jan. 2010) “Court Tosses Rules of Road for Internet” Wall Street Journal.
Web. 16 Sept. 2014. http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304049704579320500441593462