Toward a broadband public interest standard

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Date: Winter 2009
From: Administrative Law Review(Vol. 61, Issue 1)
Publisher: American Bar Association
Document Type: Article
Length: 64,277 words

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TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction I. The Broadcast Public Interest Standard A. Statutory and Regulatory Foundations B. Defining "Public Interest" in Broadcasting 1. 1930s Through 1960s--Proactive Regulation "to Promote and Realize the Vast Potentialities" of Broadcasting a. Attempts at Specific Requirements: The "Blue Book" and the 1960 Programming Statement b. More Specification, the Fairness Doctrine, and Noncommercial Broadcasting c. Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC: The Public's First Amendment Rights as Paramount 2. 1970s and 1980s--The Taming of Red Lion by the Invisible Hand 3. 1990s to Today: Continued Deregulation and a Modest Revival of Public Interest Regulation (Red Lion Roars Again) a. The Broadcast Public Interest Standard Survives (Tattered, but Still Alive) C. Why Did the Broadcast Public Interest Standard Fall Short? II. The Internet as Marketplace of Ideas A. Autonomy and the Internet B. Speech and Democracy Online 1. Online Citizen Activism a. The Democratization of Information and the Demise of Unidirectional Monoculture b. Direct Democracy 2.0? 2. E Pluribus Pluribus--Whither Deliberative Democracy Online? a. Access i. Availability ii. Cost iii. Why Is Broadband Important? C. Private Censorship 1. Censorship on Social Networking and News Media Websites 2. Censorship in the Blogosphere 3. Censorship by Broadband Providers 4. The New Scarcity: Scarce Audience, Abundant "Spectrum". 5. Valuable Dissent Can Be Impolite D. Online Exposure Diversity--The Diminishing Returns of Digital Autonomy 1. The Importance--and Scarcity--of Heterogeneous Exchange Online 2. Beyond Gatekeepers, Beyond Fences--Finding Truth in the Data Smog E. Localism and Community Building Online 1. Are Online Communities Undermining Local Communities on Terra Firma? III. Operationalizing a Broadband Public Interest Standard A. Intensified Federal Efforts in Support of Broadband Universality 1. Assessing the Challenge a. Existing Federal Efforts to Proliferate Internet Access--Lack of Prioritization b. Mixed Results in Educational Connectivity Initiatives--Many Children Left Behind and Offline c. What Else Is at Stake--Advantages of Household Internet Access Beyond Democratic Engagement 2. Increasing Direct Federal Subsidies for Broadband Deployment 3. Financial, Technical, and Legislative Support for Municipal Broadband and Public-Private Initiatives to Build Out Broadband a. Cable Modem and DSL Duopoly b. Municipal Broadband Networks as an Emerging (but Underfunded) Third Option c. Cable and Telephone Company Efforts to Thwart Public Networks 4. Supporting Demand-Side Digital Literacy Programs 5. More Federal Research Support, Better Data Collection, and Better Spectrum Management B. Content: Cultivating Digital Democracy 1. Building Online Town Squares--Support for Public Fora on Local and State Government Websites a. Causes of the Shortage of Public Deliberation Spaces Online b. Parameters for Online Public Fora 2. Linking Public Broadcasting with Public Broadband-A New Corporation for Public Broadband? 3. Network Neutrality a. Net Neutrality and Democracy Online IV. Old Wine in a New (Digital) Bottle? How a Broadband Public Interest Standard Would Be More Effective than Its Broadcast Progenitor A. Avoiding Content Regulation Quagmires B. Subsidies as a Constitutional Alternative to Regulation C. Bridging Autonomy with Civic Republicanism Conclusion


The emergence of the Internet as a prominent communications medium was welcomed with excited declarations of the new technology's power to transform democracy...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A197493069