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Internet Governance Public Policy

Finding Common Ground on U.S. Net Neutrality

After more than a decade of regulatory ping pong, net neutrality’s future in the United States is still unclear.

Since 2004, FCC rulemakings have been caught in a vicious cycle. They have been passed, fought in court, and returned to the FCC with minor (and sometimes major) revisions. In the last few years there have also been numerous attempts to pass legislation, cementing net neutrality once and for all, but nothing has succeeded in Congress.

Recognizing the importance of finding a sustainable solution, the Internet Society proposed a collaborative process to help experts find common ground on this complex policy issue. Starting in June 2018, we convened an ideologically diverse group of experts to create a baseline set of principles for an open Internet. 

The Net Neutrality Experts’ Roundtable series included representatives from the technical community, edge providers, academia, Internet service providers, industry associations, and both left- and right-leaning civil society groups.

In a series of meetings over ten months, participants discussed how to create a sustainable solution for net neutrality that protect the interests of Internet users while fostering an environment that encourages investment and innovation. 

Ultimately, the group was able to create a consensus-driven set of bipartisan principles for an open Internet in the United States.

It is important to note that the Net Neutrality Principles do not represent or replace the existing positions of the Internet Society or any organization that participated in the project.

Instead, they demonstrate the power of inclusive processes in allowing experts to reach common ground on complex issues, and in delivering a concrete outcome. To us, this work is proof of the value of the collaborative approach.  

Our report on this process outlines the need for a sustainable net neutrality policy in the United States, the importance of using a collaborative model for policymaking, and details about the Net Neutrality Experts’ Roundtable Series.

The Internet Society is pleased to have facilitated a collaborative effort to help experts find common ground on net neutrality in the U.S. The bipartisan principles give policymakers a powerful tool to create a solution that upholds a truly open Internet for all. We would like to sincerely thank all participants of this process for their time, effort, and dedication.