In 2017, the FCC eliminated all net neutrality protections and renounced its authority over broadband.
That stunning reversal of two decades of FCC policy set off a public firestorm, prompted states, including California, to step in with their own protections, and led to protracted legal battles.
Now a new FCC is set to revisit net neutrality with the goal of restoring open internet protections at the federal level. Two of the current four commissioners have said restoring net neutrality is a high priority. Gigi Sohn, a long-time supporter of net neutrality, is the nominee for the fifth seat, and the Senate looks poised to approve her appointment soon.
That means a unique window is about to open. Historically, the FCC has given deep consideration to input from citizens, companies, interest groups, and public policy experts.
This policy lab gives students the opportunity to participate in this process, and be trained to become the next generation of net neutrality and telecommunications law experts. Students will have an opportunity to make a lasting mark on real public policy. The FCC’s choices are crucial to issues like platform dominance, digital equity, and the digital divide.
Students in this policy lab will work alongside Stanford Law Professor Barbara van Schewick, widely considered to be the world’s foremost expert on net neutrality. Her work has shaped net neutrality policies around the world, including the FCC’s 2015 net neutrality protections and California’s 2018 net neutrality law.
Students will do research and produce materials related to the upcoming FCC net neutrality proceeding. Documents include white papers, explainer documents, FCC submissions, and more.
A background in net neutrality or telecom law is helpful, but not required. Students from a variety of disciplines are invited to apply, including computer science, economics, statistics, public policy, and journalism.
CONSENT APPLICATION: To apply for this course, students must complete and submit a Consent Application Form available at https://law.stanford.edu/education/courses/consent-of-instructor-forms. See Consent Application Form for instructions and submission deadline.