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Regulating 'Net Neutrality' Is Not Necessary And Would Harm Consumers, Media Institute Tells FCC

FOR RELEASE: June 14, 2007

Contact: Richard T. Kaplar
The Media Institute
703-243-5700

 

Arlington, Va., June 14, 2007 – Regulating Internet providers for the purpose of enforcing "net neutrality" is a bad idea that would harm consumers, The Media Institute told the Federal Communications Commission in comments filed today.

The Institute said that no need has been demonstrated for regulating the offerings and pricing of broadband access, services, and content providers. "The evidence shows, and the Commission confirms, that in the current marketplace no practices have been identified that would disadvantage or otherwise injure consumers," the Institute said.

The urge to regulate the Internet is based only on speculation and fear of the "what if," which works to the benefit of regulators because a "what if" scenario is impossible to disprove, the Institute said.

Regulating the Internet would harm consumers because it would stifle innovation in infrastructure and technology, and it would prevent Internet providers from offering new combinations of services, distribution, and pricing that would give consumers more choices, the Institute noted.There is no reason the Internet should be frozen into a common carrier model where access providers are allowed to offer only one type of service and price, when the Internet could evolve into something far more useful and dynamic with synergies among providers tailored to customer preferences, the Institute said.

Net neutrality is the principle that consumers should have open access to the Internet, and that Internet providers should not engage in practices that restrict consumers' access. The Institute noted that marketplace pressures will ensure that providers give consumers more rather than fewer choices, and also noted that laws are already on the books to deal with abuses.

In 2005 the FCC issued a policy statement that listed four goals for consumer access to Internet networks, services, and content. The Institute pointed out that the FCC elevated these goals to the stature of "rights," and now contemplates whether and how it should enforce these "rights" of its own creation. But these are not "rights" in any constitutional sense, the Institute said.

The comments ("Broadband Industry Practices") can be viewed on The Media Institute's website, www.mediainstitute.org.