Think tank: Net neutrality rules harmful, unnecessary

Tue, 03/02/2010 - 7:15am
Maisie Ramsay, Wireless Week

The American Consumer Institute says network neutrality regulations are not only unnecessary, but they could restrict growth and innovation in the broadband industry.

The Washington, D.C.-based think tank has issued a 59-page report on its findings around the Federal Communications Commission’s proposed net neutrality rules. The group argues there is no evidence that net neutrality regulation would promote innovation in the Internet ecosystem.

"We find that innovation is thriving at both the core and the edge of the network in the current policy environment, which has fundamentally allowed the Internet to evolve with little government involvement," said Larry Darby and Joseph Fuhr in the institute's report. "Further, we find no evidence that greater FCC involvement in markets for broadband services would protect or promote innovation in the Internet ecosystem. Indeed, we believe that such intervention is more likely to discourage innovation than to stimulate it."

At the heart of the American Consumer Institute's argument against net neutrality regulations is the belief that unnecessary laws will stall innovation in the vital Internet sector. The institute cites the proliferation of new wireless technology standards, smartphones and applications as evidence supporting its argument.

The group wants the FCC to take another look at innovations generated by the broadband Internet ecosystem before it goes ahead with new regulations.

"Concerning the need for new regulations, the public interest will be well served if the Commission heeds the wisdom of Hippocrates: 'First, do no harm!.'" Darby and Fuhr said in their report. "By any reasonable assessment of the record of innovation in networks, the current regulatory regime is working."

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