Life tends to slow down in early June — unless you’re involved in the net neutrality debate. A surprising number of momentous net neutrality actions have occurred over the years in the month of June, starting with the initial use of the term net neutrality.
Net neutrality milestones in June
- Tim Wu, then a University of Virginia law professor, published “A Proposal for Network Neutrality” in June 2002. Wu proposed that net neutrality “would forbid broadband operators, absent a showing of harm, from restricting what users do with their internet connection, while giving the operator general freedom to manage bandwidth consumption and other matters of local concern.” In other words, ISPs could manage your bandwidth, but they couldn’t make your cat videos play slower than an advertiser’s content. Wu is now a professor at Columbia Law School.
- Four years later, on June 8, 2006, the US. House of Representatives voted down a net neutrality amendment along partisan lines, with most Republican lawmakers opposing net neutrality and Democrats siding with Silicon Valley companies in favor of it.
- On June 14, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had the authority to hold ISPs to net neutrality standards — in essence, stating that Internet access was akin to utility access.
- But then, nearly one year ago, on June 11, 2018, FCC net neutrality regulations officially expired following a December 2017 FCC vote to repeal rules put into place in 2015.
Several states have since moved to enact net neutrality provisions, either in statute or by executive order. You can almost certainly expect the debate to continue at the federal level — probably in early June.
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