Stack neutrality: The holistic approach to net neutrality

Washington Examiner

In 2003, Tim Wu first coined the phrase “net neutrality” in his paper “Network Neutrality, Broadband Discrimination.” He defined a neutral network as “internet that does not favor one application over another.” Today, the Federal Communications Commission faces a choice: either regulate the entire internet ecosystem as a public utility or do not.

The agency cannot have it both ways. Interim-FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel claims that net neutrality also seeks to prevent companies from serving as a gatekeeper to our online content. The next FCC chair, whomever that may be, will most likely re-institute its Obama-era net neutrality rules (i.e., the Title II Order). One problem: the Title II Order regulated internet service providers, or ISPs, only. Considering that technology companies have more of a penchant for content moderation, are ISPs really the threat here?

Although the FCC should accept that the internet is not broken and leave it alone, it probably won’t do that. But, if it reinstates its Title II Order, then why not take a holistic regulatory approach to net neutrality to include all the players up the internet stack?

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