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Open access (also spelled open-access)

is the ability of suppliers and users to gain unfettered access to networks, content, applications, devices, and ultimately consumers.
generally refers to a structural requirement that would prevent a broadband network provider from bundling broadband service with Internet access from its own in-house Internet service provider and would require the network provider to make its broadband transmission capability available to independent Internet service providers on a nondiscriminatory basis.[1]
[is the p]rovision of free access to peer-reviewed academic publications to the general public.[2]


Much of the recent debate over open access has focused on the ability to gain access to content, applications, and services on the Internet. The ability of subscribers to gain access to and use the Internet, in any legal manner, and the ability of applications and service providers to gain access to those consumers has become a focal point for the open access debate.

Today’s residential market for broadband delivery is dominated by two platform providers: cable television companies that provide cable modem service and landline telephone companies that provide Internet access service (i.e., wireline broadband Internet access, or Digital Subscriber Line service (DSL)).[3]


  1. Telecommunications: Projects and Policies Related to Deploying Broadband in Unserved and Underserved Areas, at 11 n.16.
  2. Open Data White Paper: Unleashing the Potential, at 7.
  3. For FCC market share data for high-speed connections, see Federal Communications Commission, "High-Speed Services for Internet Access: Status as of June 30, 2007" (March 2008) (full-text). See also "Local Telephone Competition and Broadband Deployment, High-Speed Services for Internet Access" (full-text).

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