Expect net neutrality to end, says Emory University experts

Feb. 23, 2015

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Corey Broman-Fulks
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Cbroman@emory.edu

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FCC to vote on Internet regulations Feb. 26th.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is set to vote on proposed regulations that would alter net neutrality from the Internet as we know it now. With this looming decision and the possible ramifications, Emory University information systems experts say the Internet must remain open and fair.

“Certainly moving away from net neutrality is not desirable,” says Goizueta Business School professor Ramnath Chellappa. He says if the Internet must be regulated, though, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposal is a good starting point. But, regulation is not an end-all solution.

“Let’s consider some aspects of utility-like regulation,” Chellappa explains. “Do we have choices in who provides us cable or even electricity for that matter?  The issue really stems from monopoly at the infrastructure level, and these monopolists now wanting further discriminating ability.”

The proposal would upgrade Title II of the 1934 Communications Act for the 21st century, forbid “slow-down lanes,” paid prioritization, and the blocking of lawful content and services. Wheeler says this will keep the Internet accessible to users, businesses and innovators alike.

Benn Konsynski, Emory professor of information systems at Goizueta Business School, prefers net neutrality, but he agrees that these may be the proper regulations going forward.

“The invocation of Title II authority is the only way to, possibly, preserve the open Internet,” he says. “True market competition and elimination of mechanisms of constraint and control will guarantee the retention of that ‘unprecedented platform for innovation and human expression.’ How we shall ‘modernize’ Title II for the 21st century will be a next challenge. Frankly, what we do here is essential to the United States preserving its leadership in the social, economic and governmental platform essential the 21st century global market.”

Konsynski believes the FCC will approve the regulations, but lawsuits and Congressional influence will determine the official reforms.