Introduction to the RIO Special Issue on Net Neutrality
Published online: 2 May 2017
Ó Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017
The U.S. Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC’s) ‘‘Open Internet Order’’
(which was promulgated in 2015) is arguably the latest salvo in a debate that has
raged for at least a century on whether and how to regulate access to networks with
very high ﬁxed costs. The FCC’s Order made two major changes to how the U.S.
regulates broadband: First, it established broadband Internet service providers
(ISPs) as ‘‘common carriers,’’ which would allow the government to regulate the
service more heavily. Second, it established one version of ‘‘network neutrality,’’
which limits the ways in which ISPs can interact with and manage Internet trafﬁc.
For example, under the rules ISPs are not allowed to block sites or enter into paid
prioritization agreements with particular sites.
Access rules are always and everywhere contentious, and the Open Internet
Order is no exception. The authors in this special issue of the Review of
Industrial Organization consider many aspects of the Order, including the longer
historyofcompetitionpolicyintelecommunications, theoretical rationales for
and against such regulation, its expected effects, the process by which the rules
were considered, and what markets and experience tell us about its anticipated
& Scott Wallsten
Technology Policy Institute, Washington, DC, USA
Rev Ind Organ (2017) 50:389–391