Heartland Institute Experts React to FCC Vote on Net Neutrality Rules

December 21, 2010
Tammy Nash

CHICAGO (Dec. 21, 2010) – Technology policy experts at The Heartland Institute offer the following comments on the Federal Communications Commission’s 3-2 vote December 21 to impose net neutrality rules.

You may quote directly from the statements below or contact the experts for further comment:

Jim Lakely, co-director of the Center on the Digital Economy at The Heartland Institute:

“The FCC’s ruling is good news for attorneys, who will bill countless hours to fight this illegal power-grab in court. For everyone else, especially those who have enjoyed the wonders of the digital age, this is bad news.

“The modern Internet exists because market forces drove investment and innovation. The only regret the average consumer experienced under such freedom was not upgrading faster to the latest version of the coolest new device or service. It is this ‘flawed’ market three members of the FCC were determined to ‘fix.’

“Instead of fixing the market, the FCC will succeed only in stifling it by declaring itself the sole gatekeeper to the future of the digital economy. And instead of working to meet the demands of consumers, technology companies will instead turn their attention to Washington and spend resources convincing the FCC to rig the market in their favor. Only a bureaucrat could think that’s an improvement over the status quo.”

For additional comment, contact Jim Lakely at jlakely@heartland.org or 312/731-9364.

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Bruce Walker, managing editor of The Heartland Institute’s InfoTech & Telecom News:

“The rules the FCC will impose are unenforceable without Congressional approval – as a federal court made clear in April. The FCC has now only prolonged the regulatory uncertainty its net neutrality threats originally created. This will negatively impact jobs and investment in the Internet industry.

“If net neutrality rules are allowed to stand, the Internet we have grown to appreciate and depend upon will wither under the shroud the FCC crafted today.”

For additional comment, contact Bruce Walker at bwalker@heartland.org or 989/430-5557.

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Marc Oestreich, legislative specialist for technology at The Heartland Institute:

“One could say it’s tough to know exactly what sort of effect the new net neutrality rules will have on the economy – except the effect already has been tested by researchers at New York University. They concluded earlier this year the U.S. economy will lose nearly 500,000 jobs in the next 20 years as a result of backward-looking policy from the FCC.

“Self-regulation in the technology sector of the economy has proven to work. The FCC today has taken the shiny beacon of American innovation and freedom we call the Internet, and dulled it with the tinge of authoritarianism.”

For additional comment, contact Marc Oestreich at moestreich@heartland.org or 312/377-4000.

The Heartland Institute is a 26-year-old national nonprofit organization based in Chicago. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site at http://www.heartland.org or call 312/377-4000.