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Studying the Impact of Net Neutrality

Now that the Federal Communications Commission has approved new rules supporting net neutrality, the real work begins.

In an effort to determine the far-reaching consequences of this decision, faculty from Michigan State University’s Quello Center are joining forces on a Net Neutrality Impact Study.

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William Dutton

“It is difficult to overstate the significance of this decision, not only for network neutrality, but for the future of Internet policy in the United States and worldwide,” said Quello Center Director William Dutton, who is leading the study.

One of the most important Internet policy issues, with potentially far-reaching consequences for all Internet users, net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers should give consumers access to all legal content and applications, regardless of the source and without favoring or blocking particular products, content or services.

“The goal of this research is to provide a non-partisan, unbiased assessment of the short-, medium- and long-term implications of this far-reaching order to inform practitioners in business, government and the public at large,” said Johannes Bauer, professor and chair of the Department of Media and Information, who is a member of the research team. “Our hope is to contribute to preserving the openness of the web, free speech, and the dynamics of the Internet.”

Besides Dutton and Bauer, other MSU and Quello Center faculty involved in the study are Steve Wildman, professor of media and information and former chief economist for the FCC; Adam Candeub, professor of law and director of MSU’s Intellectual Property, Information and Communications Law Program; and Jay Pil Choi, University Distinguished Professor of economics.

Established by an endowment in honor of former FCC Commissioner James Quello, the center’s mission is to study media and information policy in a neutral and dispassionate way.

Photo: Partial map of the Internet based on the January 15, 2005 data found on opte.org. Each line is drawn between two nodes, representing two IP addresses. The length of the lines are indicative of the delay between those two nodes. This graph represents less than 30% of the Class C networks reachable by the data collection program in early 2005. Lines are color-coded according to their corresponding RFC 1918 allocation as follows:
Dark blue: net, ca, us
Green: com, org
Red: mil, gov, edu
Yellow: jp, cn, tw, au, de
Magenta: uk, it, pl, fr
Gold: br, kr, nl
White: unknown

– Tom Oswald, William Dutton via MSU Today

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