Maria Luce Mariniello, Net neutrality e qualificazione dei servizi di accesso alla banda larga dopo il caso Verizon: quale lezione per l’Europa?


1. Il caso. 

2. Il contenzioso in materia di net neutrality negli Stati Uniti.

3. Le questioni giuridiche trattate nel caso Verizon v. FCC. 

4. Profili di interesse per un confronto con l’ordinamento europeo. 

5. Prospettive della regolamentazione dopo la sentenza Verizon.


On January 14, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals of Washington D.C. issued a decision, Verizon v. FCC, which would drastically change the course of the net neutrality debate both in the US and in Europe. According to the judgement, the only option for maintaining the FCC’s authority to impose non discrimination obligations on broadband providers is to reclassify them as “common carriers”, that is to say broadband Internet access services are to be qualified as public utilities. As the policy implications of the court’s decision have been discussed extensively among scholars of various disciplines, this Note focuses on legal issues arising in the aftermath of the Verizon decision, in an attempt at identifying common regulatory questions that telecom regulators are struggling to answer on both sides of the Atlantic. To this aim, Part I will discuss the court’s decision in Verizon v. FCC starting with a brief summary of the FCC troubled history with net neutrality, and will outline the arguments made here and in previous case-law regarding the lack of authority to expanding regulatory power to broadband providers. By comparing regulatory frameworks, and the current state of broadband Internet access markets, Part II argues that the EU telecom legislation offers more solid grounds for regulating net neutrality. Nevertheless, in a context of (desirable) progressive reduction of ex ante regulation, regulators in Europe and in the US are taking a converging path of regulatory reform in search of good compromise between light touch regulation of broadband markets and such public service obligations as equal access in the scope of net neutrality. Hence, Part III seeks to analyze the post Verizon net neutrality debate through comparing the FCC public consultation launched in the summer 2014, and the parallel pending negotiations in Europe concerning the EU Commission proposal for a new regulatory framework on net neutrality.