The Federal Communications Commission’s decision to end net neutrality regulations has sparked contentious debate about the future of the web. Adopted in 2015, net neutrality promised to preserve the democratic spirit of the internet by ensuring all data would be treated equally, regardless of where it originated. Under these regulations, internet service providers (ISPs) like Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T could provide web infrastructure, but could not regulate how data passed through it. Supporters argue these regulations are critical to ensuring that users and content creators can access ideas and information without censorship – or charges – from corporate providers. After all, no one wants to pay for every video they stream on YouTube – or every tweet they send on Twitter. On the other hand, net neutrality opponents argue that burdensome regulations equate to government overreach that stifles innovation and drives up costs for consumers and providers alike. Further, the backlash against the FCC’s decision is unwarranted; Americans will enjoy uninterrupted access to their favorite sites because ISPs make more money off of an open, rather than a closed, internet.
For the Motion:
Mitchell Baker, Chairwoman, Mozilla Foundation & Mozilla Corporation
Tom Wheeler, Harvard Law Professor & Former Chairman, FCC
Against the Motion:
Michael Katz, Professor, Berkeley & Former Chief Economist, FCC