Over the summer, you likely noticed an increase in webpages and social media posts on Net Neutrality.  And when you visited various webpages on July 12 you may have seen ads supporting the Internet wide day of action to save net neutrality.

These posts refer to the April 26 announcement and May 18 Notice of Public Rulemaking (“NPRM”) on “Restoring Internet Freedom” by the FCC to reverse the 2015 Open Internet Order, which categorized broadband service as a communications service under Title II of the Communications Act.  This order barred broadband providers from throttling connection speeds, blocking websites, and accepting payment for prioritizing web traffic.  There are many articles and other materials online explaining the effects of these rules.  Here are links to a few:
Many Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”) are in favor of the NPRM, agreeing with FCC Chairman Pai’s comments that the Open Internet Order provides too much regulation of broadband service and has led to a decreased investment of infrastructure.
Opponents of the new rule include many content providers as well as consumers of broadband services.  Despite the name of the NPRM, “Restoring Internet Freedom” comments submitted by opponents of the rule argue that it would limit consumers access, by making it more difficult to reach webpages hosted by smaller businesses that cannot afford to pay for higher prioritization,  and possibly limiting connection speeds or blocking websites of competitors providing similar services.
For a social justice perspective on net neutrality see Net Neutrality: The Social Justice Issue of Our Time by Summer Google Policy Fellow at Public Knowledge and Third Year Howard Law student, Willmary Escoto, which discusses how revoking the 2015 rules can also limit access to minority points of view, such as current online social justice movements such as #BLACKLIVESMATTER.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee has announced a Full Committee hearing on September 7 entitled “Ground Rules for the Internet Ecosystem.”  The committee has invited the CEOs of leading tech companies, including Facebook, Amazon, and Netflix, as well as broadband providers including Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T to testify before the committee.
We will continue to follow and share developments on this rulemaking.  You may also want to follow these threads on the EFF and PK websites for more up to date information.
Is there an IP social justice development or issue that you think might interest other IIPSJ readers?  Please let us know - and as always, we look forward to your comments and questions.
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