Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

Network neutrality is the view that Internet users should have control over what content they view on the Internet. This principle was honored until 2005 when the FCC reclassified the technology that brings the Internet to its users. The purpose of this project is to gain insight into the net neutrality debate, examine what net neutrality really means to users and the potential long-term consequences the results of this debate could produce. I intend to demonstrate the need for network neutrality by providing the context in which network neutrality can be best understood. I examine the circumstances that led to the loss of neutrality as well as the origins of the Internet and the intent with which it was made available to the public. I then recognize and discuss the viewpoints of those on each side of the neutrality debate. Next, I address the impact the debate has had thus far and the reality of a non-neutral Internet. Lastly, I state my viewpoint on the issue and discuss the significant power and freedom neutrality represents to Internet users everywhere.

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