YEAR 2017 N.º 1

ISSN 2182-9845

Net neutrality and the internet access contract: contribution for the regulation of cyberspace

José Manuel Coelho Dias Fernandes


network neutrality; internet neutrality; internet access provider; zero rate; telecommunications law; information society; internet governance; cyberlaw; IT law; online equivalence; free speech; open internet


The present paper focuses on the legal matter of network neutrality. Starting from a Contract Law approach to the arrangement underlying the user’s access to the internet, the analysis contemplates elements from both the European Union and Portuguese legal frameworks regarding information society services, electronic communications services and networks, and consumer law.

The investigation then collects the main academic contributions – from a legal, economical and engineering perspective – towards a position on the matter of imposing a network neutrality solution. Accordingly, there are presented the legal regimes adopted by states and other actors to preserve network neutrality with special attention to those adopted in the United States of America and in the European Union.

Furthermore, the matter of understanding what interactions can be drawn on the fields of law and technology is also addressed, bringing to light some of the major legal issues and solutions emerging from cyberspace.