The Future of Net Neutrality, with Jonathan Zittrain

Internet service providers have filed suit against the FCC over its recent decision to regulate broadband internet as a public utility.

The Future of Net Neutrality, with Jonathan Zittrain

Internet service providers have filed suit against the FCC over its recent decision to regulate broadband internet as a public utility, alleging the decision hamstrings the ability of private industry to offer customers new and innovative products. 


The FCC's new regulations stipulate that internet providers cannot (1) block service, (2) slow it down, or (3) prioritize some users over others by creating "fast lanes" that offer faster speeds (in exchange for higher fees). Two broadband service providers, USTelecom and Alamo Broadband, will now challenge that third clause in court.

Praised by some and reviled by others, the FCC's decision mostly preserved the status quo, says Harvard Law professor Jonathan Zittrain. In a Big Think interview, Zittrain discusses the unusually strong protection the government has given to the internet, which protects users as well as keeps companies from offering a suite of products to its customers.

"The long-term question is going to be to what extent internet service providers feel they need to earn money through something other than cash-and-carry delivery of what we think of as generic broadband. You know, 'We're just going to give you good bandwidth; you're going to pay for it; have fun out there,' is the internet service provider of the traditional vain."

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Sponsored by Northwell Health
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  • The most basic thing that everyone can do to help slow the spread is to practice social distancing, wash your hands, and to wear a mask. The CDC recommends that everyone ages two and up wear a mask that is two or more layers of material and that covers the nose, mouth, and chin. Gaiters and face shields have been shown to be less effective at blocking droplets. Homemade face coverings are acceptable, but wearers should make sure they are constructed out of the proper materials and that they are washed between uses. Wearing a mask is the most important thing you can do to save lives in your community.
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Credit: Valstar et al., Netherlands Cancer Institute
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