Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality

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Updated Sep 18, 2019 at 10:32AM EDT by andcallmeshirley.

Added May 05, 2014 at 04:41PM EDT by Don.

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Net Neutrality is a network design principle and digital rights movement which advocates Internet service providers (ISPs) to treat all traffic on the Internet equally in order to maintain an “open Internet.” The principle is in opposition to a "closed Internet" in which providers restrict access to content, filter content or use "traffic shaping"[3] to degrade access to specific web services.

Online History

Although the basic concept of net neutrality is often credited with the open access movement and political activist Lawrence Lessig[4] as early as 2001,[2] the term was first coined by Columbia law professor Tim Wu in a 2003 paper titled "Network Neutrality, Broadband Discrimination."[1] The paper proposed that legislation be drafted to ensure ISPs allow unfettered communication between network applications and Quality of Service (QoS) traffic.

Principles of Network Freedom

In February 2004, United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael Powell announced a list of "Network Freedom" principles, stating that consumers be given four freedoms, including "freedom to access content," "freedom to run applications," "freedom to attach devices" and "freedom to obtain service plan information."[6] On November 8th, 2005, Google[8] published a blog post containing a letter to Congress promoting net neutrality by computer scientist Vinton Cerf.[9]

Dear Chairman Barton and Ranking Member Dingell,

I appreciate the inquiries by your staff about my availability to appear before the Committee and to share Google’s views about draft telecommunications legislation and the issues related to "network neutrality." These are matters of great importance to the Internet and Google welcomes the Committee’s hard work and attention. The hearing, unfortunately, conflicts with another obligation, and I am sorry I will not be able to attend. (Along with my colleague Robert Kahn, I am honored to be receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Wednesday at the White House for our work in creating the Internet protocol TCP/IP.)

Save The Internet

In April 2006, the Save the Internet[5] online activist organization was formed by the Free Press advocacy group, which includes a coalition of businesses and non-profit organizations aiming to protect net neutrality with a proposed "First Amendment" for Internet rights. On May 11th, YouTuber Ask A Ninja posted a video in which a man dressed in a ninja costume humorously explains the basics of net neutrality, gathering more than 1.1 million views and 600 comments in eight years (shown below, left). On June 5th, the YouTube channel Politicstv uploaded a video titled "Save the Internets," in which the electronic musician Moby attempts to confront uninterested people on the street about net neutrality (shown below, right).

Net Neutrality Squad

On November 5th, 2007, the Net Neutrality Squad[10] activist group was formed to enlist Internet users to report any actions by ISPs deemed threatening to net neutrality. On November 14th, President Barack Obama gave an address at Google announcing his commitment to preserving network neutrality (shown below, left). On June 8th, 2008, YouTuber AtheneWins uploaded a video promoting the protection of net neutrality, gaining upwards of 3.06 million views and 4,200 comments in the first four years (shown below, right).

Proposed Internet "Fast Lane"

On September 23rd, 2011, the FCC released rules stating that ISPs must disclose all network management practices, refrain from blocking any lawful content or discriminate in transmitting lawful network traffic.[15] On April 23rd, 2014, the FCC announced their proposal to change net neutrality rules to allow content companies to pay Internet service providers for special "fast lanes" that would deliver content at increased speeds.[17] The following day, a petition was created on the White House website We the People[19] urging the Obama administration to reject the FCC's plans to allow preferential treatment to content providers (shown below).

YOUR VOICE IN OUR GOVERNMENT CREATE A PETITION OPEN PETITIONS RESPONSES HOW & WHY WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO: Maintain true net neutrality to protect the freedom of information in the United States. True net neutrality means the free exchange of information between people and organizations. Information is key to a society's well being. One of the most effective tactics of an invading military is to inhibit the flow of information in a population, this includes which information is shared and by who Today we see this war being waged on American citizens. Recently the FCC has moved to redefine "net neutrality" to mean that corporations and organizations can pay to have their information heard, or worse, the message of their competitors silenced. We as a nation must settle for nothing less than complete neutrality in our communication channels. This is not a request, but a demand by the citizens of this nation. No bandwidth modifications of information based on content or its source. Created: Apr 24, 2014 Issues: Consumer Protections, Regulatory Reform, Technology and Telecommunication:s Learn about Petition Thresholds SIGNATURES NEEDED BY MAY 24, 2014 TO REACH GOAL OF 100,000 ,165,93 TOTAL SIGNATURES O0TAS PETATIONE 51,835

On May 3rd, Redditor dydorn submitted a post urging viewers to sign the petition and contact the FCC to fight the "fast lane" proposal to /r/technology,[18] where it received upwards of 12,000 upvotes and 560 comments in the first 48 hours. On May 5th, YouTuber CGP Grey uploaded a video titled "Internet Citizens: Defend Net Neutrality," which explained the basics of net neutrality and urged viewers to contact the FCC to reclassify broadband Internet as a "title II common carrier telecommunications service." That day, Redditor Igore34 posted the video to the /r/videos[7] subreddit, where it accumulated over 22,100 upvotes and 790 comments within 10 hours.

Barack Obama's Endorsement

On November 10th, 2014, The White House YouTube channel uploaded a video in which President Barack Obama urged the Federal Communications Commission to "do everything they can to protect net neutrality" and classify home Internet as a public utility (shown below).

That day, Republican Senator Ted Cruz from Texas posted a tweet[20] calling net neutrality ''Obamacare for the Internet'' (shown below). In the first 24 hours, the tweet gained over 2,700 retweets and 1,200 favorites. Many Twitter users mocked Ted Cruz for the tweet, arguing that the comparison made little sense.

+ Follow @SenTedCruz "Net Neutrality" is Obamacare for the the speed of government. わ ★ RETWEETS FAVORITES 2.738 1.2510 2E 10:43 AM- 10 Nov 2014

Also on November 10th, The Oatmeal webcomic posted an explanation of net neutrality directed at Cruz (shown below).

What its like to have nO internet What it's like to have SlOW internet COME ON LOAD GOD DAMNIT Oh shucks, the internet is down Perhaps I'll go make a sandwich. WHy MUST YOU TEASE ME, INTERNET THIS IS LIKE HAVING SEX BUT YOURE ONLY FLLOWED TO PUT YOUR PEEPEE IN ONCE LOAD YOU SON OF A BITCH

Reclassification of Broadband Access in the U.S.

On February 26th, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)[21] voted 3-2 in favor of reclassifying broadband access as a "telecommunications service under Title II, thus recognizing high-speed Internet as a public utility and enabling the implementation of new federal regulations that strictly prohibit the ISPs from pursuing paid prioritization agreements for the so-called "fast-lane Internet" and give the governing body more regulatory powers over business activities of the broadband industry in the United States. Among many other legal implications of the ruling, the new rules explicitly ban the following practices:

  • No Blocking: broadband providers may not block access to legal content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.
  • No Throttling: broadband providers may not impair or degrade lawful Internet traffic on the basis of content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.
  • No Paid Prioritization: broadband providers may not favor some lawful Internet traffic over other lawful traffic in exchange for consideration -- in other words, no 'fast lanes.' This rule also bans ISPs from prioritizing content and services of their affiliates."

The FCC's decision, which broke down on party lines with all three Democratic commissioners voting in favor and two Republicans voting in opposition, was immediately met with ecstatic responses and cheers from the Open Internet Coalition and other supporters of net neutrality on Twitter and elsewhere in the social media. The decision was reported by Wall Street Journal,[22] New York Times,[23] TIME[24] and NPR.[25]

John Oliver Segments

On June 1st, 2014, Last Week Tonight host John Oliver devoted roughly 13 minutes of his show to explaining net neutrality. At the end of the segment, he encouraged viewers to visit the FCC's commenting site and voice their concerns. Oliver's call to action was so successful that the FCC reportedly received more than 4 million responses and their website crashed.[26] As of May 2017, the segment (shown below) has over 12.8 million views on YouTube.

Following the appointment of Ajit Pai to chairman of the FCC, concerns about the future of net neutrality again arose. Within months, he had unveiled plans to reverse the net neutrality rulings and re-classify it legally, thus removing it from Title II.[31]

On May 7th, 2017, John Oliver again devoted a majority of his show to explaining the fight over net neutrality, as well as the plans Pai has for the future of the internet. Oliver instructed his viewers to comment on the FCC's website, however, because the commission had made it more complicated than in the past, he bought the domain,[27] which redirects visitors directly to the comment site. According to The Washington Post,[28] within 12 hours of segment's airing, "the page to leave a comment on the website loaded intermittently -- sometimes not at all, sometimes just slowly." Within the first 24 hours, the video had over 700,000 views on YouTube.

On May 8th, Redditor bitbybitbybitcoin posted the TIME article "NeutralityJohn Oliver Is Calling on You to Save Net Neutrality, Again" to the subreddit /r/Technology. Within five hours the post had more than 31,000 points (81% upvoted) and 1,200 comments.[29][30]

FCC DDoS Attack

Following the 2017 video, on May 7th, 2017, the FCC reported that they had been the victims of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, causing the comment system to shut down. On May 8th, the FCC's chief information officer David Bray said that the FCC's website had been the victim of a "deliberate attempts by external actors to bombard the FCC’s comment system with a high amount of traffic to our commercial cloud host."[58] However, in the months following the alleged attack, the FCC worked to keep secret documents related to the disruption and, furthermore, they did not have written documentation of the attack as it was supposedly happening.

The following year, on August 6th, 2018, Ajit Pai said that he was "deeply disappointed" in Bray for providing "innacurate information" regarding the attack.[59] The statement came just ahead of the inspector general report that proved there was no DDoS attack on the FCC's comment system. He said:

I am deeply disappointed that the FCC's former Chief Information Officer [David Bray], who was hired by the prior Administration and is no longer with the Commission, provided inaccurate information about this incident to me, my office, Congress, and the American people. This is completely unacceptable. I'm also disappointed that some working under the former CIO apparently either disagreed with the information that he was presenting or had questions about it, yet didn't feel comfortable communicating their concerns to me or my office.

On August 7th, the report was released.[60] It read:

While we identified a small amount of anomalous activity and could not entirely rule out the possibility of individual DoS attempts during the period from May 7 through May 9, 2017, we do not believe this activity resulted in any measurable degradation of system availability given the minuscule scale of the anomalous activity relative to the contemporaneous voluminous viral traffic.

Internet Protests

On June 6, 2017, it was announced that there would be a major protest by major internet companies similar to the ones against SOPA but this time in support of Net Neutrality on July 12th, 2017.[32] Among the notable firms protesting in favor of Net Neutrality included Amazon, Reddit, Mozilla, and the ACLU.[33][34]

Trump Administration Policies

In January 2017, Ajit Varadaraj Pai was appointed the new FCC commissioner by the Trump administration. In April, Pai proposed a repeal net neutrality rules enacted under the Obama administration. In July, protests were held against Pai's proposal. In mid-November, the FCC revealed plans to hold a vote in December to end the Obama-era net neutrality rules. On November 17th, Slate[37] reported that more than 22 million comments were sent to the FCC regarding the removal of net neutrality restrictions. On November 18th, Redditor hornuser submitted a post urging viewers to call Congress to vote against the repeal to /r/listentothis,[38] where it gathered upwards of 112,000 points (89% upvoted) and 3,000 comments in 48 hours. On November 19th, The Young Turks uploaded a video about the upcoming vote titled "R.I.P. The Internet, 1983-2017 (shown below, left). On November 20th, YouTuber Internet Comment Etiquette uploaded a video about Net Neutrality in response to the proposed changes (shown below, right).

Meanwhile, YouTuber Cr1tikal uploaded a video criticizing the FCC's planned repeal, which called for "half of the attention" from the Electronic Arts's Star Wars Battlefront II controversy to be driven toward preserving net neutrality (shown below). Within 24 hours, the video gathered upwards of 200,000 views and 2,600 comments.

On November 21st, the FCC published a press released titled "Chairman Pai Circulates Draft Order to Restore Internet Freedom and Eliminate Heavy-Handed Internet Regulations," officially announcing a proposal to repeal the Obama-era restrictions:[43]

"Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the Internet. Instead, the FCC would simply require Internet service providers to be transparent about their practices so that consumers can buy the service plan that’s best for them and entrepreneurs and other small businesses can have the technical information they need to innovate."

The Battle for Net Neutrality

In response to the FCC's planned repeal, Battle for Net Neutrality[44] launched a campaign urging internet users in the United States to call their congressional representatives to vote in favor of net neutrality.

This is your last chance to stop ISPs from messing up your Internet. slow websites, and charge fees to control what you see & do online. They vote December 14th. But if Congress gets enough calls, *they* can stop the FCC. Enter your phone # CALL (We'll connect you and provide a suggested script of what to say. Your phone number will only be used to make this call. Privacy Policy)

On November 21st, posts linking to the Battle for Net Neutrality website reached the front page of /r/xboxone,[39] /r/NintendoSwitch,[40] /r/PUBATTLEGROUNDS[41] and /r/PS4.[42] Over the next day, posts promoting the Battle for Net Neutrality campaign dominated the front page of /r/all (shown below).

Imagine having to pay extra to use a CRT and a normal GameCube controller, or you'd be stuck with a cheap flat screen and your cousin's MatCatz controller. That's what the internet will be like without net neutrality. Resist! All ( submitted 3 hours ago by zach2thefuture to。r/smashbros 96 comments share save hide report crosspost [I+c] URGENT 19 6637 Skyrim belongs to the Nords! Oh wait, it could belong to Comcast, or any company that wants to throttle your ability to download and play the game! Save net neutrality today by calling your local representatives! ( submitted 6 hours ago by 353 comments share save hide report crosspost [I+c URGENT 20 25.0k [-1][M] to O r/skyrim Never Tell Me The Odds of losing Net Neutrality! Stand with us and fight the FCC and ISPs from blocking, throttling, and paid prioritizing the web! URGENT ( submitted an hour ago by ViperCodeGames[M] to r/nevertellmetheodds 26 comments share save hide report crosspost I+c] URGENT URGENT Message à caractère informatif Métal 22 26.1k submitted 5 hours ago by afrofagne [-1] to r/france 786 comments share save hide report crosspost [I+c] /r/chemicalreactiongifs supports the fight for net neutrality! ( submitted 6 hours ago by MetoenmnD。[M] to。r/chemicalreactiongits 55 comments share save hide report crosspost [+c] URGENT 23 14.9k

Ajit Pai Memes

On Reddit, numerous image macros condemning FCC chairman Ajit Pai as greedy and beholden to corporate interests were submitted in the coming days, many of which reached the front page of the /r/dankmemes and /r/memeeconomy subreddits (shown below).

Microtransactions in games Micro transactions for the entire internet Don't understand why net neutrality is Important? Just imagine EA TM Is your Internet provider. Money Being a decent human beinq

Verizon Protests

Meanwhile, the website was launched to organize nationwide demonstrations outside of Verizon stores to protest the telecommunications company's lobbying erfforts to kill net neutrality regulations.

DON'T KILL NET NEUTRALITY The new chairman of the FCC was a top lawyer at Verizon. Now he's calling for a vote to kill net neutrality. We're protesting at retail stores across the U.S. to demand that Congress stop Verizon's puppet FCC from destroying the Internet as we know it JOIN THE PROTEST DEC 7 VERIZON STORES NATIONWIDE

Break the Internet

On December 12th, 2017, Fight for the Internet held a final protest against the FCC's proposed repeal of Title II. Entitled Break the Internet, the group has posted a number of tools for gathering attention to influence the FCC's vote. Some examples of proposed tactics include changing profile pictures, pre-written social media posts, changing relationship status' on Facebook, adding a new job on LinkedIn and more.[45]

Several high-traffic websites and internet-based companies joined the protest, including Imgur, Mozilla, Pinterest, Reddit, Pornhub, Etsy and more. However, unlike in past protests, some of the biggest companies, such as Apple, Facebook, Google, Amazon, Twitter and others, did not participate.

Additionally, a number of news outlets covered the protest, including Gizmodo,[46] The Nation,[47] The AV Club.[48] CBS[49] and more.


On December 14th, 2017, the FCC held a vote to repeal the Obama-era net neutrality restrictions. During the vote, the room was evacuated for safety concerns, leading officers with dogs to sweep the area. Shortly after, the vote reconvened and succeeded 3-2 in favor of repealing net neutrality.


Operation: One More Vote

On January 15th, 2018, the Washington Post[52] that 50 senators have endorsed the blocking of Net Neutrality's repeal by the FCC. Therefore, with the support of all 49 senate democrats and Republican Senator Susan Collins from Maine, the senate would only require one more vote to block the repeal and send the measure to the House of Representatives and then must be signed by president.

The following month, on February 7th, Evan Greer, the campaign director of Fight for the Future,[53] released a statement announcing a new campaign entitled "Operation: One More Vote." The aim would culminate on a day of action on February 27th, 2018, when Fight for the Future and other participants would provide users with tools to contact their representatives. He wrote:

"The internet is on a mission to save net neutrality, and every member of the Senate needs to decide if they are with us or against us. The FCC’s decision to let ISPs throttle websites and shake us down with new scams and extra fees was the most unpopular move in the agency’s history. The CRA gives our elected officials a clear way to reverse that decision, making it a simple up or down vote on the future of the open internet. On February 27, we’ll make sure they know their constituents expect them to do their jobs and vote on the right side of history."

On February 27th, congressional democrats introduced a resoluatiion to overturn the FCC's decision under the Congressional Review Act. With the CRA, a simple majority in the Senate and House of Representatives is all tha t is required to pass.[54]

As of the time of the introduction, the CRA had 50 supporters in the senate, requiring just one more for passage, and 150 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives.

In a statement, Senator Edward Markey said, "President Trump and FCC Chairman Ajit Pai might want to end the internet as we know it, but we won’t agonize, we will organize The grassroots movement to reinstate net neutrality is growing by the day, and we will get that one more vote needed to pass my CRA resolution. I urge my Republicans colleagues to join the overwhelming majority of Americans who support a free and open internet."

That day, congressional democrats rallied with the One More Vote campaign. On Twitter, Represenative John Lewis tweeted,[55] "Never has there been a more important time to guarantee that each voice can freely speak up and speak out. We cannot allow a few powerful companies to control what you see and do on the Internet. We must save #NetNeutrality to guarantee a free & open internet for all #goodtrouble." The tweet (shown below) received more than 7,200 retweets and 19,000 likes in 24 hours.

John Lewis @repjohnlewis Never has there been a more important time to guarantee that each voice can freely speak up and speak out. We cannot allow a few powerful companies to control what you see and do on the Internet. We must save #NetNeutrality,to guarantee a free & open internet for all #goodtrouble "

Red Alert for Net Neutrality

On May 9th, 2018, several websites will initiate a "Red Alert" protest that will run until the United States Senate votes on the Congressional Review Act (CRA) which aims to save net neutrality.[56] Sites engaging with the protest will show a red banner which when clicked will link people to information on how to direct their local representatives in congress. Websites that have so far agreed to participate in the protest include Etsy, Reddit, Tumblr, Vimeo, Imgur, PornHub, Funny or Die, DuckDuckGo, BitTorrent, Mozilla, Consumer Reports, and The Match Group (Tinder,, OkCupid). Speaking to the Daily Dot, Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future, one of the groups organizing the protest, said that over 10,000 websites have signed on to the protest.

RED ALERT FOR NET NEUTRALITY Text BATTLE to 384-387 *msg & data rates apply, reply STOP to opt out

Official Repeal

On June 11th, 2018, the legal protections against were removed, effectively ending net neutrality.[57] Nothing immediately changed online and several states have introduced bills that mirror the old net neutrality rules, and governors in six states have pledged to sign executive orders to ban ISPs from not following the old rules. Furthermore, the Congressional Review Act is still being reviewed by the United States congress.

Legal Brief to Reinstate Net Neutrality

On August 20th, attorneys general from 22 states as well as the District of Columbia filed a brief with a federal court to reinstate net neutrality. The brief argues that the FCC failed to consider issues, such as public safety concerns, as a result of the repeal.[61] They wrote,[62] "the Order is arbitrary and capricious because it failed to reconcile the Commission’s abdication of regulatory authority with the inevitable harms that the Order will cause to consumers, public safety, and existing regulatory schemes. Indeed, the Order entirely ignored many of these issues, including public safety, in violation of the agency’s statutory mandate."

Additionally, the brief accuses the FCC of deliberately ignoring evidence that Internet providers could not be trusted to regulate themself, citing a "substantial record evidence showing that BIAS providers have abused and will abuse their gatekeeper roles in ways that harm consumers and threaten public safety."

Verizon Throttles Firefighter Data

On August 29th, 2018, the Northern California Congressional members demanded that the Federal Trade Commission investigate the throttling of firefighter data speeds during the effort to contain the Mendocino Complex fires.[63] The throttling, firefighters say, jeopardized their lives, and congressional members want to know if this violates FTC rules.

During the fire,[64] Santa Clara County Central Fire Captain Bill Murphy said, "The speed which our plan would have allowed was reduced to one 200th of the full speed of that internet connection[…]Their ability to do that was significantly impacted by the data throttling. Our personnel resorted to using their personal devices to overcome the issue."

Santa Clara County Counsel James Williams said, "That's below dial up, you know, putting them back twenty to thirty years in terms of internet access really."

When the fire department emailed Verizon to cease throttling, Verizon responded by suggesting the department upgrade its plan by doubling the bill to "99 dollars and 99 cents a month."

Verizon eventually responded to the controversy in a written statement. They wrote, "We have a practice to remove data speed restrictions when contacted in emergency situations. In this situation, we should have lifted the speed restriction. This was a customer support mistake."

California Bill

On August 31st, the California Senate passed the Senate Bill 822, which would restore Obama-era net neutrality protections in the state of California. The bill then went to California Governor Jerry Brown for final approval.[65][66]

Senator Scott Weiner said, "We did it. We passed the strongest net neutrality standards in the nation. The internet is at the heart of 21st century life – our economy, our public safety and health systems, and our democracy. So when Donald Trump’s FCC decided to take a wrecking ball to net neutrality protections, we knew that California had to step in to ensure our residents have access to a free and open internet."

Bill's Passing and Lawsuit

On September 30th, Brown officially signed the bill into law, allowing net neutrality protections to be enforced in California. However, the same day, hours following the passing of the law, the US Department of Justice filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California that opposed the passing of California's new law.[68][69] In a press release issued by the Justice Department, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated:

“Under the Constitution, states do not regulate interstate commerce--the federal government does. Once again the California legislature has enacted an extreme and illegal state law attempting to frustrate federal policy. The Justice Department should not have to spend valuable time and resources to file this suit today, but we have a duty to defend the prerogatives of the federal government and protect our Constitutional order. We will do so with vigor. We are confident that we will prevail in this case--because the facts are on our side.”[70]

In response, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra tweeted out that the state "will not allow a handful of power brokers to dictate sources for information or the speed at which websites load,"[71] and that they will "remain deeply committed to protecting freedom of expression, innovation and fairness."[72]

App Throttling

On September 4th, 2018, researchers from Northeastern University and the University of Massachusetts released a study that showed U.S. telecoms, such as AT&T and Verizon, were slowing the connection to apps such as YouTube and Netflix. According to the study and the app Wehe, which tracks data "differentiation," YouTube is the most frequently targeted app, while Netflix, Amazon and NBC Sports have degraded as well. Between January 2018 and May 2018, the app detected "differentiation" more than 11,000 times; AT&T more than 8,300 times; T-Mobile 3,900 times; and Sprint 330 times.[67]

David Choffnes, one of the author's of the study said, "If you are a video provider, you have a patchwork of different carriers doing different things to your network traffic. And the patchwork can change any time."

Carriers, however, have maintained that they are only throttling because to manage traffic.

CRA Failure

On January 2nd, 2019, with the start of the new Congress, efforts to implement the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which allows Congress to overturn decisions made by a federal agency within a set time period, against the repeal of net neutrality failed. The measure passed through the Senate but did not receive a simple majority in the House of Representatives, gaining only 182 signatures of the 218 necessary.[73]

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai applauded the CRA's failure.[74] He said:

"I’m pleased that a strong bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives declined to reinstate heavy-handed Internet regulation. They did the right thing--especially considering the positive results for American consumers since the adoption of the Restoring Internet Freedom Order. Over the past year, the Internet has remained free and open. Broadband speeds are up, with download speeds in the United States increasing more than 35% in 2018, according to a recent report from Ookla. Internet access is also expanding, and the digital divide is closing. For example, a recent report by the Fiber Broadband Association found that fiber was made available to more new homes in 2018 than in any previous year. In short, the FCC’s light-touch approach is working. In 2019, we’ll continue to pursue our forward-looking agenda to bring digital opportunity to all Americans.

Fight for the Future deputy director Evan Greer responded:

"Dozens of anti-net neutrality members of Congress have already lost their jobs, and supporters of the open internet will soon chair the key committees that provide oversight for the FCC. Ajit Pai won’t be laughing long when he has finally has to answer questions like why his agency lied to the media about a [distributed denial-of-service] attack that never happened."

Online Presence

On September 30th, 2009, the /r/netneutrality[11] subreddit was launched for discussions related to the controversial topic. On December 22nd, 2010, designer Mike Ciarlo[12] created the website The Open Internet,[13] containing an animated presentation arguing the case for net neutrality. Two days later, Redditor rednightmare submitted the site to the /r/technology[14] subreddit, where it gathered over 2,500 upvotes and 370 comments prior to being archived. On April 3rd, 2013, the website[16] was created, which contains an interactive timeline outlining the history of net neutrality.

A GUIDE TO the OPEN INTERNET Network neutrality is the idea that your cellular, cable, or phone internet connection should treat all websites and services the same. Big companies like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast want to treat them differently so they can charge you more depending on what you use. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is currently debating legislation to define limits for internet service providers (ISPs). The hope is that they will keep the internet open and prevent companies from discriminating against different kinds of websites and services.

Notable Issues

Data Discrimination

One of the most frequently debated issues in network neutrality concerns data discrimination, or the selective filtering of information by an Internet service provider. Proponents of the net neutrality assert that one class of customers should not be favored over another in treatment of traffic, as such prioritization would constitute a form of censorship and inequality in access to the Internet.

Consumer Rights

Yet another major point of debate in network neutrality addresses the issue of "double-dipping" by network owners, or the act of charging consumers twice for Internet access, at first by charging individual consumers for access to the network and then incurring additional costs by charging the service providers with a separate fee for their Internet access, the burden of which is usually passed onto the consumers in the form of price hikes.


The issue of innovation has often been brought up in discussions of net neutrality, as proponents of the principle argue that startups and small-time entrepreneurs would have to face higher entry barriers and costs under the framework of tiered-networks, which would ensure big companies and service providers to monopolize the "fast lanes" of the Internet.


Infringement of privacy has been another growing concern among the proponents of network neutrality. Because the current lack of legal safeguards enables the Internet service providers to directly control a user's Internet connections and access the devices, some speculate that the profit-driven network providers could easily analyze what their subscribers are viewing and sell that information to the highest bidder.

A Series of Tubes

On June 28th, 2006, former Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens told the world, “The internet is not a big truck. It’s a series of tubes,” among other odd choices of wording while trying to criticize an amendment that would have prohibited ISP’s from charging for a tiered Internet structure.

Nut Neutrality

In late 2017, jokes about net neutrality intentionally misspelled as "nut neutrality" began circulated within various meme communities online. On December 16th, Redditor Matmartis posted an animated GIF of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai eating popcorn while watching rapper DJ Khaled appearing to have sex underneath covers titled "Nut neutrality" (shown below). Within 48 hours, the post gained over 5,000 points (97% upvoted) and 65 comments on /r/h3h3productions.[50]

On December 16th, a thread titled "Aji Pai/ Nut Neutrality" was submitted to 4chan's /g/ (technology) board.[51] On December 17th, YouTuber Aztrosist uploaded a video titled "Nut Neutrality," which mocked a meme-filled video starring Ajit Pai (shown below).

On December 18th, the Chapo Trap House podcast released an episode titled "Nut Neutrality" (shown below). Within 24 hours, the SoundCloud upload of the show gained over 75,800 plays.

Search Interest

External References

[1] JTHTL – Network Neutrality, Broadband Discrimination

[2] Karlsruhe – Net neutrality – A progress report

[3] Wikipedia – Traffic shaping

[4] Wikipedia – Lawrence Lessig

[5] Save the Internet – Save the Internet

[6] Wikipedia – Network neutrality in the United States

[7] Reddit – Internet Citizens – Defend Net Neutrality

[8] Google Blog – Vint Cerf Speaks Out on Net Neutrality

[9] Wikipedia – Vint Cerf

[10] NNSquad – Net Neutrality Squad

[11] Reddit – /r/netneutrality

[12] Twitter – Mike Ciarlo

[13] The Open Internet – The Open Internet

[14] Reddit – Show your relative what net neutrality means

[15] – Federal Register

[16] (via Wayback Machine) – A Timeline of Net Neutrality

[17] New York Times – FCC New Neutrality Rules

[18] Reddit – Tell the FCC to save our Net Neutrality! Before it is lost to big business looking to steal your internet for their own profits

[19] (via Wayback Machine) – Maintain true net neutrality

[20] Twitter – @SenTedCruz

[21] FCC – Fact Sheet: Chairman Wheeler Proposes New Rules
for Protecting the Open Internet

[22] Wall Street Journal – FCC Approves Net Neutrality Rules, Setting Stage for Legal Battle

[23] New York Times – In Net Neutrality Victory, F.C.C. Classifies Broadband Internet Service as a Public Utility

[24] TIME – FCC Votes ‘Yes’ On Strongest Net Neutrality Rules

[25] NPR – The FCC's Net Neutrality Vote: Here's What You Need To Know

[26] TIME – John Oliver's Net Neutrality Rant Crashes FCC Servers

[27] FCC –

[28] The Washington Post – John Oliver revives his signature fight -- net neutrality -- in an ingenious way

[29] Reddit – John Oliver Is Calling on You to Save Net Neutrality, Again

[30] Time – John Oliver Wants You to Flood the FCC Website to Save Net Neutrality, Again

[31] The Verge – FCC announces plan to reverse Title II net neutrality

[32] Battle for the Net – July 12th: Internet-Wide Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality

[33] The Washington Post – Amazon, Kickstarter, Reddit and Mozilla are staging a net neutrality online protest

[34] engadget – Amazon, ACLU back net neutrality 'day of action' on July 12th

[35] Wired – The End of Net Neutrality Could Shackle the Internet of Things

[36] The Guardian – Net neutrality Amazon among top internet firms planning day of action

[37] Slate – Trumps FCC Is About to Destroy Net Neutrality, and a Democratic Commissioner Is Calling Foul

[38] Reddit – /r/listentothis

[39] Reddit – /r/xboxone

[40] Reddit – /r/NintendoSwitch

[41] Reddit – /r/PUBATTLEGROUNDS

[42] Reddit – /r/PS4/

[43] – Chairman Pai circulates draft order

[44] Battle for Net Neutrality – Battle for Net Neutrality

[45] Battled for the Net – Break the Internet

[46] Gizmodo – The Internet Blackout for Net Neutrality Is Coming and You Can Help

[47] The Nation – Why We Need to ‘Break the Internet’ Today

[48] The AV Club – Tomorrow, break the internet and stick up for net neutrality

[49] CBS – Net Neutrality Supporters Aim To ‘Break The Internet’

[50] Reddit – Nut neutrality

[51] – /g/ thread

[52] The Washington Post – The Senate’s push to overrule the FCC on net neutrality now has 50 votes, Democrats say

[53] Tumblr – Operation one More Vote

[54] The Daily Dot – Democrats introduce net neutrality resolution to overturn FCC ruling

[55] Twitter – @repjohnlewis' Tweet

[56] Daily Dot – The internet is going on ‘Red Alert’ tomorrow to try and save net neutrality

[57] The Verge – Net neutrality is dead -- what now?

[58] Gizmodo – FCC Now Says There Is No Documented 'Analysis' of the Cyberattack It Claims Crippled Its Website in May

[59] Gizmodo – FCC's Ajit Pai Blames Former CIO for Bogus 'DDoS' Attack Claims--Also Obama

[60] CNET FCC net neutrality cyberattack wasn't real, says internal report

[61] The Verge – 22 states ask court to restore net neutrality

[62] NY Gov – Legal Brief

[63] ABC – Verizon apologizes for throttling firefighter data speeds while they battled wildfires

[64] ABC – Santa Clara firefighters accuse Verizon of throttling data during deadly Mendocino Complex Fires

[65] PC Gamer – California is one step away from enacting ‘strongest’ net neutrality rules in the US

[66] California Senate – Senator Wiener’s Bill to Enact the Strongest Net Neutrality Protections in the Nation Passes the California Legislature and Heads to Governor for Approval

[67] Bloomberg – YouTube, Netflix Videos Found to Be Slowed by Wireless Carriers

[68] New York Times – Justice Department Sues to Stop California Net Neutrality Law

[69] Ars Technica – Calif. enacts net neutrality law--US gov’t immediately sues to block it [Updated]

[70] Department of Justice – Justice Department Files Net Neutrality Lawsuit Against the State of California

[71] Twitter – Xavier Becerra

[72] Twitter – Xavier Becerra

[73] The Daily Dot – Ajit Pai Cheers End of Congress’ Net Neutrality Efforts

[74] FCC – Chairman Pai's Statement

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