Free Lesson: Net Neutrality research project and argument essay

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Goals of this assignment

The primary goal of this assignment is for students to produce an essay in which they argue for or against reinstating Net Neutrality.

To achieve this goal, students will likely have to perform research. Thus, they will also need to cite their sources (using the citation format you prefer).

In the "Background" section, we've provided a bit of context for you and your students concerning how Net Neutrality became such a major issue this year.

Skills this assignment develops

  • Research
  • Synthesizing information from multiple sources
  • Writing an essay that takes a position on a particular subject

The full text of the assignment begins below.

Net Neutrality


In January of this year, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) did not have the authority to regulate broadband services (Verizon Communications Inc. v. Federal Communications Commission, 2014).

This invalidated portions of the FCC's Open Internet Order of 2010 — specifically, the portions of the Order that established Net Neutrality.

Since then, Net Neutrality has become a hot-button issue in the United States. The FCC revealed a proposal for new rules, which were met by protests by many supporters of Net Neutrality. The FCC also invited public comments on the proposed rules. They received more than one million comments.

Soon, the FCC will decide on new rules that may or may not restore Net Neutrality.


Answer the questions below. Answering these questions will require research. Use multiple sources, and cite your sources on a separate citations page. Remember, it's up to you to determine the validity of your sources — use your best judgment.

  1. What is Net Neutrality?
  2. List some individuals and groups who support Net Neutrality. List some individuals and groups who oppose it.
  3. Some ISPs have proposed adding "fast lanes" to their networks. What is a "fast lane"?
  4. Who stands to benefit from adding these "fast lanes"? Why?
  5. If an ISP were to add a "fast lane" to its network, would it be supporting or violating Net Neutrality principles? Explain your answer.
  6. Who is the current Chairman of the FCC? What new rules has he proposed in the wake of the Court of Appeals's decision?
  7. According to the Communications Act of 1934, what are the "Title II" provisions regarding common carriers?
  8. Why do Net Neutrality supporters want ISPs to be reclassified as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934?
  9. Why are Net Neutrality opponents against this reclassification?
  10. Do you think the elimination of Net Neutrality will have any impact on your life? Explain your answer.


In the wake of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia's ruling that the FCC does not have the authority to regulate broadband services, Net Neutrality has become a big issue in the United States.

Research this issue. Then, in a well-written essay, argue either for or against reinstating Net Neutrality. Make sure to support your argument with facts from your research.