Dear FCC: Net Neutrality Is Part of a Social Contract

 

//Annenberg Assistant Professor Victor Pickard discusses the net neutrality debate in the United States, stressing the importance of safeguarding an open internet. This post was originally published on the Huffington Post and can be found here.

With his ringing endorsement for strong net neutrality protections, President Obama has joined a public groundswell for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reclassify the Internet as a utility. This move would not only enable the agency to remain true to its mandate to regulate in the public interest, it would also, according to the President and many of the nearly 4 million Americans who filed comments with the FCC, promote democratic values of openness, fairness and freedom.

Such overwhelming public support for what may seem like a wonky regulatory debate reminds us that net neutrality is and always has been much more than a technocratic squabble over how Internet “pipes” are managed. It’s about the role of media and information in a democratic society, and the role of government — in this case the FCC — to help ensure access to information because…

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