Network neutrality legislation

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Managing editor's note: This article is part of the 2007 project to build an open library of research and data to inform Sen. Dick Durbin's national broadband policy project. Please help out by expanding these articles - a good place to start is to look through the links listed under "external resources" in the article's sections and/or at the end of the article.

Network neutrality is the practice of network operators moving data without regard to who provided it. Without network neutrality, network operators (including Internet Service Providers that provide Internet service to consumers) could give preference to the websites and services of corporations that enter into financial agreements with them and slow down data from sources that do not have such agreements.

While network neutrality has been the standard practice of network operators (as of 2007), there is no law that requires it. It erupted as an issue in 2006 when a grassroots response led by the Coalition opposed telecom legislation that either did not address or did away with network neutrality. In 2007 there is at least one bill to enshrine neutrality in law and on July 22nd, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) announced a participatory project to suggest ideas for and revisions to a national broadband policy bill. The FCC also opened the question of whether it should enforce network neutrality in 2007.