Open Access is a section of the Ting blog dedicated to discussions about the open Internet, net neutrality and other important online topics. If you’re already convinced that Internet access should be classified under Title II, Tumblr has a great grassroots campaign on the go. Read on for all the gory details on Title II, common carriage and how we got to the sorry state Internet access is now in.
Common carriers, Title II and Net Neutrality explained
If you care about an Internet that is open to every idea and every startup, you need to know about common carriers and understand what’s at stake as Internet advocates call on the FCC to reclassify the Internet under Title II.
It’s complex. So, I asked Barbara Cherry to help explain it all.
Cherry knows about this from three decades in the field, including in the telecommunications field for almost twenty years–ten of them at AT&T, five at Ameritech, and almost five at the FCC. Now she is a professor of telecommunications who trained as a lawyer and has a Ph.D. in communications studies.
Cherry explains that the idea of common carriage goes back to the Middle Ages. “If your business is to carry things for others, you have certain legal obligations,” she says. Whether you’re a postal service delivering letters or a ferry delivering people, the basic obligation is “to serve upon reasonable request without unreasonable discrimination at a just and reasonable price and with adequate care.”
There are some big ideas in that legalistic formulation.