François Bar, PhD, City and Regional Planning from UC Berkeley, is Associate Professor at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication. He focuses on the social and economic impacts of information technologies, paying particular attention to telecommunication policy, user-driven innovation and technology appropriation.
Walter Baer, PhD, Physics from the University of Wisconsin, is Senior Policy Analyst in RAND’s Science and Technology Division. He researches implications of the Internet, related IT developments for higher education and electronic commerce, and analyzes public policy and business implications for communications, information and educational technologies.
Shahram Ghandeharizadeh, PhD, Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, is Associate Professor in USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s Computer Science Department. He researches design and implementation of novel architectures for high performance data intensive applications, multimedia based social networking systems, parallel database systems, and active databases.
Fernando Ordonez, PhD, Operations Research from the Operations Research Center at MIT, is Associate Professor in the Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering in USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering, where he also has a joint appointment in the Computer Science Department. He researches optimization in general.
In this essay, the authors submit that one communication infrastructure, broadband, has progressively subsumed manifest media streams that once required specific networks. Because of this, they suggest it’s easiest to understand the Internet through its original name, Interwork.
Unlike Japan, Korea, and some European countries, the U.S. doesn’t have a pro-broadband national policy. Most cities in the U.S. are served by a duopoly, which additionally hinders infrastructural advancement. The authors worry about this because they believe this tiered system model creates artificial scarcity and so hinders the Internet’s function as a “communication and collaboration” (125) tool. They argue for network neutrality, which would prohibit restrictions by Internet service providers or governments on potential users’ access to the Net. Current restrictions include interference with content, applications, services, and user device choices.
They finally submit the Annenberg Center Principles for Network Neutrality (132):
- Operators and Customers Both Should Win
- Light Touch Regulation.
- Basic Access Broadband
- Encouraging Competitive Entry