Neutralizing the "Open Internet"
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) handed a stunning victory to advocates of media reform in 2005 when it endorsed a robust theory of the First Amendment in the Comcast adjudication (FCC, 2008). It is a theory that moves away from the dark ages of selective deregulation of discriminatory corporate media and looks towards prioritizing media consumers' right to access diverse and antagonistic sources of information and opinion, rather than the right of large corporations to acquire and control ever-larger combinations of media infrastructure. This theory, if upheld, may herald a new era of attention to citizens' First Amendment interests in accessing and benefiting from regulated telecommunications facilities such as broadcast airwaves and cable networks. This Chapter will begin with a brief history of telecommunications regulation, and turn to net neutrality activism, culminating in the law of Internet discrimination. The Communications Act of 1934 created the FCC for the precise purpose of making available, "so far as possible, to all the people of the United States a rapid, efficient, Nation-wide, and world-wide wire and radio communication service with adequate facilities at reasonable charges" by the mechanism of" centralizing authority" (Communications Act of 1934, Section 1). The 1934 Act made it unlawful for common carriers to discriminate unduly or unreasonably against any particular person or class (ibid., sections 201-202).
Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon
Computer and Internet, Law and legislation, Media and the Law, Science and Technology
Communications Law | First Amendment | Internet Law | Law
Hannibal Travis, Neutralizing the "Open Internet", in CYBERSPACE LAW : CENSORSHIP AND REGULATION OF THE INTERNET, (Hannibal Travis ed., 2013).