Make no mistake: The digital age will change the meaning of
freedom of expression. The only question is how it will
change. If we do not reconsider the basis of liberty in this age,
if we do not possess the vigilance of the guide as well as the
guard, we shall end up like every person who travels through
the wilderness without a compass, or through the forest
without the forester. We shall end up lost.1
Internet broadband regulation is one of the most hotly contested issues in U.S. communications law today.2 The choices federal lawmakers have made and will make about this contentious issue will affect infrastructure deployment, network development, network content, and ultimately free speech. Choosing to follow an approach that relies centrally on the principle of competition in broadband infrastructure will result in a distinctly different Internet than a policy that uses government regulation as a way to secure the diversity of Internet
1 Jack M. Balkin, Digital Speech and Democratic Culture: A Theory of Freedom of Expression for the Information Society, 79 New York University Law Review 1, 57 (2004).
2 Stuart Minor Benjamin, Proactive Legislation and the First Amendment, 99 Michigan Law Review 281, 295 (2000). See also Jim Chen, The Authority to Regulate Broadband Internet Access over Cable, 16 Berkeley Technology Law Journal 677, 680 (2001); and Editorial, “Net Neutrality, Back in Court,” The New York Times Online Edition, March 6, 2011; available at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/07/opinion/07mon3.html?ref=netneutrality . Last accessed on March 26, 2012.