The benefits and risks of mandating network neutrality


The American Library Association (ALA) believes in a balanced policy only with a slightly different twist.According to Larra Clark of the Office of Information Technology for the ALA, “we must ensure that these creative and research resources are not relegated to any Internet ‘slow lane’ while others with deeper pockets are able to cut deals with Internet service providers to prioritize access to their offerings.” Thus the ALA, while acknowledging that Internet service providers need to make strong revenue to support robust innovation through tiered pricing for quality of service levels, it does not support legislation that would allow this to be done at the expense of ubiquitous stakeholder access to content or innovation (ALA, 2014).

We then apply this understanding to the determination of stakeholder rights and options on the Internet.Although stakeholder literacy has been briefly mentioned by nearly every participant in the debate, there has been a glossing over of the significance of the completeness (or lack thereof) of stakeholder literacy within the network neutrality debate and how that plays into the dynamics of the debate.This paper will address this importance and conclude with some suggestions on how to begin to include stakeholder literacy into the network neutrality debate.This defining section of the paper encompasses many differing viewpoints which, while not a focus of this paper, will be briefly discussed in order to frame the subject of this paper properly.Each of these viewpoints revolves around the issue of content discrimination in a marketplace that has been enabled to do so and seeks to do so for revenue gain opportunities.Much has been said about the potential benefits and harms to service providers, content providers and content consumers from both regulation and non-regulation of the Internet (Wu, 2004).

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