Net Neutrality





Net neutrality refers to the standard that governments and internet service providers ought to employ to treat the entire data in the internet equally without being selective or charging in a different way by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, and methods of communication. In simple terms, it is the opinion that all internet traffic be cared for equally. This permits those on the internet to simply communicate and carry out business with no intrusion from the third party. It is very much different from closed internet where already well-known companies or governments favor particular users. Closed internet might have restrictions on the access of essential web services or even filter out web contents. However, this paper explains more about net neutrality according to the extensive debate that went on particularly in the United States about whether this neutrality should be required by law (Cheng,2011,Pil and Kim,2010,Thierer,2012 ).

As the debate about the issue continues, advocates of net neutrality have gone ahead to raise concerns about the capability of broadband providers to make use of their last mile infrastructure to obstruct internet applications and the contents such as websites, services, and protocols. They also raised anxieties whether the same providers will even block out other competitors. Nevertheless, opponents of net neutrality maintain that telecom companies are up to impose a tiered service model for the purpose of controlling the pipeline and by this means do away with competition, create false shortage, and force subscribers to buy their or else uncompetitive services. Many, including the founder of internet, Vinton cerf and a core- inventer of internet protocol believe net neutrality as primarily important as a protection of existing freedoms. The web creator, Tim Berners-Lee and many others have also spoken positively concerning net neutrality (Barley, 2013 and Marsden, 2010).

The idea of ‘net neutrality’ is that each website that is accessed through an ISP, such as Verizon Wireless or Comcast acquires identical bandwidth and speed. On the other hand, the court ruled that ISPs could not be forced on issues of net neutrality. In reality, they will at present have a motivation to charge higher fees to websites looking to have quicker access and content delivery. Services such as Netflix and Hulu would be forced to pay a premium, since they cannot pay for the slow streaming of their content. Furthermore, ISPs can randomly choose to slow down the velocity of any website they decide, such as that of contestant, or less than admiring news outlets (Barley,2013 and Marsden,2010).

As far as the digital world is concerned, the ruling is a blow to internet free will. There will be also higher cost of premium being passed back to digital advertisers. It also means that service providers like Hulu will also increase their rates of charges for advertising on its network as it is currently paying higher fee to ensure high speed access of content. The popular subscription based services could pass on that the additional bandwidth charge onto its end customers, although social media platforms would have no option but to pass the charge on to advertisers, given that its consumers get them for free. This implies higher charges for social media show ads and promotional campaigns. The ruling will also make it hard for brands to force traffic to their personal website. A big company similar to, say Coca-Cola, can have enough money to pay for simple way in to its Journey website, which is filled with its own content. In order for smaller brands to obtain similar type of bandwidth, it would be a climbing task to acquire that sort of marketing budget accepted (Marsden,2010,Cheng et al.,2012,Powell and Cooper,2011).

The experience of watching video online could also become a hit soon as either flawlessly smooths movies on Netflix or frozen and frustrating videos from the site of smaller firms which cannot afford to pay extra fee. This means that the reason has nothing to do with superiority in technologies used by these companies but has something to do with money. It therefore depends on how much companies are willing to pay to move their content on to fast internet lanes.The proposal for new set of network neutrality rules likewise threatens to undermine the FCC’s long held attitude of ensuring equivalent access to all contents. It would be a key success for the network providers, which pays out large sums of money a year to sustain and upgrade their networks. The providers argue that companies that consume the most bandwidth typically with video streams ought to pay additional for such privilege(Powell and Cooper,2011,Crocioni,2011).

The most affected in this ruling are the digital marketers as digital advertisers have to bear the high cost of bandwidth passed to them. Others include service providers like Hulu, Netflix, and organizations like yahoo, NBC, LnkedIn which all have to pay for the additional cost of bandwidth. The social media and content websites are also affected since it will be very difficult for them to enter the same play field except if they are ready to pay subscription fee. Other proponents group like consumer advocates, human rights organizations, online companies, technology companies, Vonage, eBay, Amazon, InternetActiceCorp(IAC), Microsoft, along with other companies and internet users that had taken a stance in support of network neutrality are also likely to be affected either directly or indirectly(Crocioni,2011,Varnelis,2012,Caves,2012).

Then there is also the merger between Comcast and the Time warner which is too being questioned by Connecticut Senetor, Richard Blumenthal. The Comcast and Time Warner cable execs is questioned how their merger would affect regional sports programming. But they waved it off as a stupid question. Comcast and TWC, however, in their evidence before the senator said there ought to be no worry about the union that affects regional sports channels since Comcast and TWC do not at present have any overlap with these channels. Needless to say, this is not about overlap but about utilizing a mixture of assets from both Comcast and TWC to compel customers off of the only genuine remaining competition in the pay TV market, that is, satellite service from direct TV and Dish. The two largest players in local sports coverage are Comcast, via its various Comcast SportsNet contributions, and FOX, which controls large number of local sports channels. These regional channels frequently carry the greater part of games in markets with several sports teams for the whole thing apart from NFL that is considered available via a local broadcast TV station (Marsden, 2014, Owens, 2013 and Caves, 2012).

Nonetheless, sports offering for both FX and Comcast differ in their availability to people across several pay TV platforms. FOX is a content company that wants its shows seen by as many people as possible. Only a handful of FOX sports stations are not available to both Direct TV and Dish subscribers in their area across the whole list. FOX has at least some agreements with Direct TV in all of its markets totaling to its terrestrial cable operators which is not true for the case of Comcast. Comcast start at offering satellite providers access to a number of its popular sports offerings out of anxiety that it will drop its monopoly on the local pay TV business. Time warners cable (TWC), Comcast’s merger partner is trying to copy its larger companion’s strong monopolistic position with SportsNet L.A that is jointly owned by Dodgers and TWC. Since TWC is not willing to move on the price tag for access to the Dodgers who at present have the power of doing fine so far this period, Considerably lager percentage of people in L.A. have no way of watching the majority of Dodgers game(Marsden,2014,Owens,2013 and Springer,2014).

The merger between Comcast and Time warner Cable only gives the joint company extra power in bargaining with local sports teams. This situation is considered true particularly with the anticipated deal with charter that would provide a combined Comcast/TWC the additional neighboring coverage in L.A. and much of the East Cost. The Mets games in NYC are shown on SNY which is jointly owned by TWC and Comcast team. In this state of combination, the cable companies would own one third of the nation. The station is by now out of access by Dish customers in the city. There is nothing to stop Comcast, particularly when it becomes the leading cable and broadband provider in NYC to use the ownership chance in raising the price to be charged to direct TV. This will consequently compel Satellite Company to either pass the cost on or drop the station. In L.A, the addition of new areas of the city by Comcast would bring Dodgers games to several people, though would also imply that the company has less reason to share with Direct TV or dish. Comcast has not at all done anything to demonstrate its interest in making sports content accessible to the wider market .Even its online Olympics coverage was only accessible to pay-TV subscribers eager to pay for service tiers that comprised every NBC news and sports channel. With more money behind it, the bigger Comcast will only carry on to influence restricted regional sports deals for the purpose of keeping subscribers from cutting the cord and to convince sports fans to stay away from satellite(Sharffer and Jordan 2010,Dumas,2012,Springer,2014).

Comcast’s billions of dollars achievement of Time Warner Cable (TWC) is anticipated to be carefully examined by the section of justice and Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and it could be fruitless in case the agencies make a decision that the merger would considerably lessen competition and hurt consumers. Still, in a case where Comcast wins agreement, the merger might need consumer guard requirements that would make it difficult for Comcast to exercise its increased size in conducts that make the TV and Internet markets less spirited. Comcast said it anticipates regulatory assessment to take nine to twelve months. At present, they are looking at what authority the department of justice and FCC may employ to obstruct or change the projected achievement. Telecom specialist Harold Feld, senior VP of consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge, clarified that the department of justice(DOJ) and FCC each have power here, but the procedures they employ are rather different (Sharffer and Jordan 2010,Dumas,2012).

The former FCC official advises overcome of “anti-consumer” Comcast/TWC merger where he says that the department of justice does this under antitrust. He says that this case has to go to the federal court to block the deal, and they have the burden of evidence under a customary antitrust investigation. The former official also says that the merger would have to demonstrate that there is a considerable probability that the transaction would lessen competition in some appropriate market. In this case, he adds that the department of justice would have to prove its case by prevalence proof(Sharffer and Jordan 2010, Cooper,2013).

The FCC’s power comes from the reality that Time Warner Cable would have to move Cable Television Relay Service licenses and telephone service licenses to Comcast. The FCC is seen to be a bit different since it is in fact the judge. This means that FCC as a commission has to decide whether the move of the licenses serves the community interest. The weight is on the applicants to demonstrate the existence of enough the public interest gains to counterbalance any possible problems to the public concern (Sharffer and Jordan 2010,Gainer et al., 2013).

The FCC has the option of approving the acquisition absolute or endorses it with conditions. If Comcast have the same opinion to the conditions, then the deal will sail on very well. In case the FCC needs to challenge, it would not straight away refuse the merger. The FCC would announce concerning questions of material fact, questions we cannot respond from the present condition of the documentation on whether the merger serves public interest. Comcast has positioned its focus on the multichannel video programming distribution (MVPD) market, claiming that the attainment of TWC would bring Comcast from 22 million to 30 million subscribers, or less than 30 percent of the countrywide total. Comcast also offered to separate itself from three million subscribers in an offer to get under 30 percent and possibly calm regulators (Yoo and Lee,2014, Sharffer and Jordan 2010).

Moreover, Comcast has pointed out that it does not contend alongside Time Warner Cable in any individual cities or towns. That information is descriptive of how small competitions survive in the cable market, as the vendors have successfully separated up regions to the point where every consumer have little choice. To Comcast’s antitrust lawyers, it is positive in the sense that the merger will not lessen the number of cable options clients have. Comcast’s market description is not the only one that will be proposed. Consumer support group Free Press maintain that the merger would provide Comcast control over the majority of US triple play market for video, voice, and Internet service. The group says that the merger in addition will give extraordinary market influence over consumers and an extraordinary capability to make use of its influence over any channels or businesses that desire to get to Comcast’s customers(Walters,2011,Manne 2014 , Chan-Climsted ang Guo,2011).

In listing all the ways the merger with Time Warner is pro-consumer, Comcast states that the highly spirited US Internet market will only become improved. Less than 30 percent of residential families, Comcast would have improved discussing control in a diversity of markets, which it could possibly employ to hurt contestants and its own clients. Comcast would also have extra room to grow as proprietor of TWC. The, which tracks accessibility of cable services, gave details that Comcast’s shared footprint with Time Warner Cable would be 214 million Americans, or about two-thirds of the US inhabitants, up from 129 million for Comcast today. Not all of those people subscribe to Comcast, particularly in places that have more than one cable company or a different player like Verizon FiOS, although the number give details of how large Comcast’s potential can be seen betterStuke and Grunes, 2014, Shaffer and Jordan, 2013).

Comcast’s enlarged size would craft it simpler to insist on payments in the market from Internet bandwidth providers such as Cogent or Level 3, as an alternative of proceeding with the exchange traffic for free of charge as has been the custom. Comcast could also use better negotiating influence to acquire elevated payments from other phone providers for the capability to make calls to Comcast customers (Bonna, 2014).

Some of the supporters of this merger comprise Comcast and Time Warner themselves as they say that they have willingly shed subscribers to keep their size at spirited level. In addition, they said that internet access regulations will keep them from discriminating against video competitors online such as You Tube or Netflix. Another supporter of the merger among others is the Silico Valley CEO who says that the merger will be good for consumers since many of them will at present start to receive quicker broadband internet services. He also added that Comcast is the industry leader in broadband technology known as DOCSIS 3.0 that provides almost all of its customer’s access to networks competent of 100 Mbps or more which greatly exceeds TWC top speeds today. Silico also says that the merger will help accelerate the US leadership which is already ahead of Europe since it has faster speeds and is one of the only two countries with fully developed broadband technologies. He added that Comcast’s deal with TWC will also indicate an improved video understanding for more Americans and that Customers will see no decrease in competition while gaining quicker Internet speeds and more diverse programming choices as Comcast and TWC operate in different communities. Last but not least, Comcast’s acquisition of TWC will be a net plus for network neutrality which is one of the top main concerns of consumer supporters. This means that consumer supporters will be one of the supporters of the merger to a certain level(Sharffer and Jordan 2010, Gilroy,2012, Waternam and Choi , 2012).

Senetor Al Franken, is one of those against the merger for his vocal criticism. He is seen as the loudest opponent of Comcast’s bid for Time Warner, evidenced by his letter to the trade group Computer and communications industry Associations. In this letter, he asked for the group’s view on the 445 billion mergers. He claims that Comcast will wind up with 40% of the broadband internet market if this is approved. The senator said that this power is too much for a single company which according to him could act as a powerful gatekeeper for internet content and services in the US homes. Other opponents among others include service providers like Netflix which reported through its executives that it is opposed to the merger, arguing that consumers would be harmed in case comcast is left to control more than 40% of broadband internet subscriptions and 30% of the cable subscriptions. This shows just a few highlights of the existing opponents and supporters of the merger(Curtin 2010 and Wallsten, 2010).


Cheng, H. K., Bandyopadhyay, S., & Guo, H. (2011). The debate on net neutrality: A policy perspective. Information Systems Research, 22(1), 60-82.

Pil Choi, J., & Kim, B. C. (2010). Net neutrality and investment incentives. The RAND Journal of Economics, 41(3), 446-471.

Thierer, A. D. (2012). ” Net Neutrality”: Digital Discrimination or Regulatory Gamesmanship in Cyberspace?.

Bailey Jr, C. W. (2013). Strong copyright+ DRM+ weak net neutrality= digital dystopia?. Information Technology and Libraries, 25(3), 116-127.

Marsden, C. T. (2010). Net neutrality: towards a co-regulatory solution. A&C Black.

Cheng, A. S., Fleischmann, K. R., Wang, P., Ishita, E., & Oard, D. W. (2012). The role of innovation and wealth in the Net neutrality debate: A content analysis of human values in Congressional and FCC hearings. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 63(7), 1360-1373.

Powell, A., & Cooper, A. (2011). Net neutrality discourses: comparing advocacy and regulatory arguments in the United States and the United Kingdom. The information society, 27(5), 311-325.

Crocioni, P. (2011). Net Neutrality in Europe: Desperately seeking a market failure. Telecommunications Policy, 35(1), 1-11.

Varnelis, K. (2012). Networked publics. The MIT Press.

Caves, K. W. (2012). Modeling the welfare effects of net neutrality regulation: A< i> Comment</i> on Economides and Tåg. Information Economics and Policy, 24(3), 288-292.

Marsden, C. (2014). Net Neutrality Regulation in the UK: More Transparency and Switching. Journal of Law and Economic Regulation (Seoul, Korea) Forthcoming.


Springer, S. (2014). Stephenie’s Hyperlinked Blog. Director

Dumas, B. M. (2012). Diving Into the Bitstream: Information Technology Meets Society in a Digital World. Routledge

Cooper, A. (2013). How Regulation and Competition Influence Discrimination in Broadband Traffic Management: A Comparative Study of Net Neutrality in the United States and the United Kingdom (Doctoral dissertation, University of Oxford).

Gaynor, M., Lenert, L., Wilson, K. D., & Bradner, S. (2014). Why common carrier and network neutrality principles apply to the Nationwide Health Information Network (NWHIN). Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 21(1), 2-7.

Yoo, E., & Lee, H. (2014). 9 The Impact of Digital Convergence on the Regulation of New Media in Korea. Policy and Marketing Strategies for Digital Media, 138.

Stazi, A. (2012). Digital copyright and consumer/user protection: moving toward a new framework?. Buffalo Law Review, 1111, 92.

Walters, B. (2011). The Near Future Impact of Smart Mobile Devices on Electronic-Commerce and the Growth of Mobile-Electronic-Commerce.

Manne, G. A. (2014). Beneficence Is Beside the Point: The Antitrust Realities of the Comcast/Time Warner Cable Merger.


Stucke, M. E., & Grunes, A. P. (2014). Crossing the Rubicon: Why the Comcast/Time Warner Cable Merger Should Be Blocked.

Shaffer, G. L., & Jordan, S. (2013). Classic conditioning: the FCC’s use of merger conditions to advance policy goals. Media, Culture & Society, 35(3), 392-403.

Bona, J. M. (2014). The Comcast-TWC Merger: Limit the Government’s Options. CPI Antitrust Chronicle, April.

Waterman, D., & Choi, S. (2011). Non-discrimination rules for ISPs and vertical integration: Lessons from cable television. Telecommunications Policy, 35(11), 970-983.

Gilroy, A. A. (2012). Access to broadband networks: The net neutrality debate. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service.

Shaffer, G., & Jordan, S. (2013). An examination of how the FCC uses “voluntary commitments” from merging telecommunications companies to advance policy goals.

Gilroy, A. A. (2011). Access to Broadband Networks: The Net Neutrality Debate. DIANE Publishing.

Curtin, T. (2010). Achieving the Franchise: The Comcast-NBC Universal Merger and the New Media Marketplace. CommLaw Conspectus, 19, 149.

Wallsten, S. J. (2010). An Economic Overview of the Implications for Online Video of the Proposed Comcast-NBCU Transaction.

Please fully answer the 2 separate questions. There is a small attached article for the second question. Please use correct english when answering the questions. 

1.What elements of culture will be important for you to understand to improve the quality of your cross-cultural interactions? What actions should you take to prepare for your assignment and how can you best deal with culture shock?

2.Net Neutrality is one of the most controversial issues concerning the Internet in the news right now. 
Read the 2 posted articles on Net Neutrality and conduct your own research on it. What are your thoughts on this issue?

Article on Net Neutrality taken from the New York Times on Dec 22, 2010

The concept of “net neutrality" holds that companies providing Internet service should treat all sources of data equally. It has been the center of a debate over whether those companies can give preferential treatment to content providers who pay for faster transmission, or to their own content, in effect creating a two-tier Web, and about whether they can block or impede content representing controversial points of view.
Currently, Internet users get access to any Web site on an equal basis. Foreign and domestic sites, big corporate home pages and low-traffic blogs all show up on a user’s screen in the same way when their addresses are typed into a browser. The Federal Communications Commission had come out in favor of keeping things that way, but its ability to do so was put in doubt by a federal appeals decision in April 2010 that restricted its authority over broadband service.
On Dec. 21, 2010, the F.C.C. approved a compromise that would broadly create two classes of Internet access, one for fixed-line providers and the other for the wireless Net. The vote was 3 to 2, with the Democratic commissioners supporting it and the Republican commissioners against.
The rules, which address some of the principles of so-called network neutrality, will be tested in the courts in the months ahead, and Republicans said that they would challenge the rules in Congress as well.
The new rules are, at best, net semi-neutrality. They ban any outright blocking and any “unreasonable discrimination” of Web sites or applications by fixed-line broadband providers, but they afford more wiggle room to wireless providers like AT&T and Verizon. They require all providers to disclose what steps they take to manage their networks. In a philosophical break with open Internet advocates, the rules do not explicitly forbid “paid prioritization,” which would allow a company to pay for faster transmission of data.
The F.C.C.'s new approach won widespread acceptance among some Internet providers, developers and venture capital firms. But a wide swath of public interest groups have lambasted the proposal as “fake net neutrality” and said it was rife with loopholes.
The F.C.C. compromise followed a proposal made in August by Google and Verizon, which called on regulators to enforce net neutrality on wired connections but not on the wireless Internet. They also excluded something they called "additional, differentiated online services."

One of the main factors in the current debate is the F.C.C.'s defeat in federal court. The ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia that the agency lacks the authority to require broadband providers to give equal treatment to all Internet traffic flowing over their networkswas a big victory for the Comcast Corporation, the nation’s largest cable company. It had challenged the F.C.C.’s authority to impose the so-called “net neutraility” obligations.
The agency’s chairman, Julius Genachowski, argued that such rules are needed to prevent phone and cable companies from using their control over Internet access to favor some online content and services over others.
Since the court decision, the F.C.C. has been trying to find a way to regulate broadband delivery. On Dec. 1, 2010, Mr. Genachowski outlined a framework that forbids both wired and wireless Internet service providers from blocking lawful content, but would allow broadband providers to charge consumers different rates for different levels of service. His proposal would also allow broadband providers to manage their networks to limit congestion or harmful traffic, and forms the basis for a proposed order the F.C.C. will vote on at its meeting in the closing days of 2010.
The issue took on a new urgency with the Verizon-Google proposal, which was favored by some telecommunications companies like AT&T but opposed by Facebook and many other Internet content companies. Much of the debate rests on the idea of paid "fast lanes." Content companies, the theory goes, would have to pay for favored access to a carrier's customers, so some Web sites or video services could load faster than others.
That would be a big change from the level playing field that content companies now enjoy. Barry Diller, who oversees Expedia, Ticketmaster, and other sites, described the idea as "the equivalent of having the toaster pay for the ability to plug itself into the electrical grid."
These fast lanes are fairly easy to understand when it comes to wireless Internet access. But what confused many was the suggestion by Google and Verizon that future online services that are not part of the public Internet should also be exempt from equal-access rules. These services would be "distinguishable from traditional broadband Internet access services," the two companies said in a joint blog post. "It is too soon to predict how these new services will develop, but examples might include health care monitoring, the smart grid, advanced educational services or new entertainment and gaming options."
Some experts were puzzled as to what these services might be and why such an exception might be necessary.
Concerns about open networks are not limited to access to Web sites, and they are not hypothetical. In 2007, Verizon Wireless rejected Naral Pro-Choice America’s request to send text messages over its network, a decision Verizon reversed after an outpouring of criticism. Recently, Apple was criticized for rejecting an iPhone application, Google Voice, an Internet-based service that would permit users to make low-cost calls without using AT&T, which has an exclusive arrangement for the iPhone in this country. (Apple said it is still considering the application.) The F.C.C. is investigating.
In 2005, the Federal Communications Commission had adopted four broad principles relating to the idea of network neutrality as part of a move to deregulate the Internet services provided by telephone companies. Those principles declared that consumers had the right to use the content, applications, services and devices of their choice using the Internet. They also promoted competition between Internet providers.
The F.C.C. under the Obama administration is moving to add a fifth principle that will prevent Internet providers from discriminating against certain services or applications. Consumer advocates are concerned that Internet providers might ban or degrade services that compete with their own offerings, like television shows delivered over the Web.
The F.C.C. had formally voted in 2008 to uphold a complaint against Comcast, saying that it had illegally inhibited users of its high-speed Internet service from using popular file-sharing software. The decision, which imposed no fine, required Comcast to end such blocking.
The court case, which the federal appeals court ruled on in April 2010, centered on Comcast’s challenge of the 2008 F.C.C. order