The stage is set for a global showdown against Internet slow lanes. Here's why you can't afford to keep quiet.
Article by Danielle Kehl for the Hill
At the annual Internet Governance Forum (IGF) meeting in Istanbul next week, a multi-stakeholder group of representatives from around the world will gather to discuss the most pressing Internet policy issues of the day. Net neutrality will be high on the agenda, with one of the plenary sessions devoted to developing a common understanding of the issue. From a continent away, the conversation will invariably turn to what's happening here in the U.S. at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and how it impacts the global policy conversation.
It's been a busy year for net neutrality around the world. This spring, the European Parliament passed rules that outlaw network discrimination and prevent anti-competitive commercial agreements. A few weeks later, the final version of Brazil's Marco Civil was codified with a section on network neutrality, despite a fierce campaign by telecom lobbyists to gut the provisions in the months prior to the bill's passage. In capitals all over the world, debates continue about the net neutrality implications of practices like zero-rating and finding the appropriate balance between competitive interests and consumer protections.
Against this backdrop, policymakers and advocates in the United States are currently embroiled in a heated battle over the future of the FCC's Open Internet rules. In January 2014, the District of Columbia Circuit Court vacated the no-blocking and nondiscrimination rules that the FCC had enacted in 2010. Now the commission is in the middle of a rulemaking proceeding to consider new net neutrality rules, pitting large broadband carriers and those who argue that new rules are unnecessary against major Internet companies and public interest advocates who have urged the FCC to put strong obligations in place. Over a million comments have already been filed in the net neutrality docket this year.
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