Policy Documents

The Constructive Alternative to Net Neutrality Regulation and Title II Reclassification Wars

Adam D. Thierer and Mike Wendy –
May 19, 2010

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has embarked on what can only be described as a “by any means necessary” effort to pigeonhole the Internet and broadband networks into the regulatory regime of a bygone era. The ramifications of this crusade for the digital economy will be profound, as it raises the likelihood of delayed or foregone investment, discouraged innovation at both the core and edge of networks, and the increasing politicization and bureaucratization of high-technology policy. Luckily, there are constructive alternatives to such a destructive regulatory path. As explained below, the better alternative would be based on: (1) a new legislative framework centered on a Federal Trade Commission-like (FTC) enforcement model of ex post adjudication grounded in antitrust law; (2) increased industry self-regulation, technical collaboration, and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms; and (3) greater reliance on community policing and expert third-party oversight.