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Infographic: Defining Net Neutrality Without the Politics

Though it means different things to different people, those people mostly fall into a few camps

1 min read
Infographic: Defining Net Neutrality Without the Politics
Image: Clyde C McElroy

Despite its name, few people are neutral about Net Neutrality. This contretemps won’t end when the U.S. Federal Communications Commission convenes tomorrow (26 February) to publicly declare where the U.S. government stands on the matter. Part of what has inspired the disagreement over how bits of data should traverse the networks that together form the Internet is the lack of consensus about whether all information should be treated equally and what “equal treatment” really means. Should it really mean equal treatment for all bits? All information providers? Or should carriers be able to charge extra for premium services, but be barred from blocking or throttling access?

Earlier this month, we published an article that spelled out the arguments and counterarguments in the hope of making sense of it all. Now, Clyde C. McElroy, a former member of the general assembly under ICANN and a participant in domain name system operations (DNSO) working groups on new top-level domains, has further illuminated those points with this infographic:

As for his personal take on how the Internet should evolve, McElroy says, “I'm more in the equal treatment for all information providers camp, but think that the technical people should be in charge of exactly how that happens.”

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How the FCC Settles Radio-Spectrum Turf Wars

Remember the 5G-airport controversy? Here’s how such disputes play out

11 min read
This photo shows a man in the basket of a cherry picker working on an antenna as an airliner passes overhead.

The airline and cellular-phone industries have been at loggerheads over the possibility that 5G transmissions from antennas such as this one, located at Los Angeles International Airport, could interfere with the radar altimeters used in aircraft.

Patrick T. Fallon/AFP/Getty Images
Blue

You’ve no doubt seen the scary headlines: Will 5G Cause Planes to Crash? They appeared late last year, after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration warned that new 5G services from AT&T and Verizon might interfere with the radar altimeters that airplane pilots rely on to land safely. Not true, said AT&T and Verizon, with the backing of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, which had authorized 5G. The altimeters are safe, they maintained. Air travelers didn’t know what to believe.

Another recent FCC decision had also created a controversy about public safety: okaying Wi-Fi devices in a 6-gigahertz frequency band long used by point-to-point microwave systems to carry safety-critical data. The microwave operators predicted that the Wi-Fi devices would disrupt their systems; the Wi-Fi interests insisted they would not. (As an attorney, I represented a microwave-industry group in the ensuing legal dispute.)

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