Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Intercollegiate Media Studies

Reader 1

James Morrison

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© 2017 Christina Yoh


Net neutrality is currently one of the most topical government policies up for debate. In the following paper, I will examine three cases in which net neutrality has been threatened by internet service providers and the Federal Communications Commission and reinforced by public interest groups, major website companies, and the public. The online regime has been a critical instrument in the outcome of all three cases, highlighting the role and influence of internet users in the virtual and physical public spheres.

Some say that the battle is already lost. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and his Republican majority in the agency are set on and have the capacity to push through legislation that will undo strict regulation of ISPs set by the Obama administration. The vote has yet to take place later this month, but the result should not detract the democratic nature and value from the decade-long debate. Net neutrality has been demonstrative of a civil society, one that uses all the tools, techniques, and platforms available to them in the fight against corporate interest. For its relation to First Amendment rights, its goals of redeeming public interest to rightful owners, and its use of new public spheres to organize civic participation, net neutrality is not only necessary for the success of the Internet, but the debate around it is also indicative of and essential to the growth of democratic debates around public policy.