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FCC’s Open Internet Rules Should Not Be Adopted

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Proposal Lacks Necessary Support, Would Hinder Efforts to Extend Broadband Penetration

Contact: Amy Smorodin
(202) 828-4405

February 13, 2010 – The Federal Communications Commission should not adopt its proposed Open Internet Rules, according to comments by TPI president and senior fellow Thomas Lenard. Lenard argues that “the Commission has not provided evidence showing that the rules would address a significant problem or market failure, has not identified harms to users that the proposed rules would remedy, and has not demonstrated that the benefits of the proposed rules would exceed their costs.”

Lenard’s analysis shows that the rules would:

  • Adversely affect incentives for investment and innovation in the broadband infrastructure and possibly in content, applications, and services as well, contrary to the Commission’s stated objectives;
  • Hinder efforts to extend broadband penetration, which would undermine the goals of the National Broadband Plan the Commission is currently developing.

“If adopted, the rules would signify a sharp departure from the status quo,” according to Lenard. “The proposal would subject broadband to non-discriminatory open access requirements and to price regulation, which are defining features of public utility regulation.” He notes that “public utility regulation has not been notably conducive to innovation.” “The Commission’s assertion that the proposed rules ‘are not intended to regulate the Internet itself’ is misleading.”

Lenard’s comments can be found here.

The Technology Policy Institute

The Technology Policy Institute is a research and educational organization that focuses on the economics of innovation, technological change, and related regulation in the United States and around the world. More information is available at http://www.techpolicyinstitute.org/