(Chicago IL – June 27, 2007) Today, the Federal Trade Commission released a report on guidelines that may be used in the regulation of broadband Internet access and network neutrality: http://www.ftc.gov/reports/broadband/v070000report.pdf. Steven Titch, The Heartland Institute’s senior fellow for information technology and telecom policy, had the following comments on that report.
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“The Federal Trade Commission’s staff report on Broadband Connectivity Competition Policy released today largely gets it right.
“The FTC staff acknowledged the high level of competition among broadband providers and correctly urged policy makers to go slow on regulating broadband business models, particularly recommending caution on network neutrality, which would prevent service providers from prioritizing Internet traffic or favoring some Web content and applications over others.
“While agency staff noted that an unfettered market for Web content management, applications prioritization, and quality of service presents the potential for antitrust abuse, it also recognized a free market has just as much potential to yield great benefits for consumers.
“‘In evaluating whether new proscriptions are necessary, we advise proceeding with caution before enacting broad, ex ante restrictions in an unsettled, dynamic environment,’ the FTC staff writes.
“The staff finds it wiser to allow market mechanisms to play out before stepping in with pre-emptive regulation. I am confident that the FCC, Congress, and state legislatures that have proposed network neutrality laws, after conducting their own inquiries of this issue, will come to agree.”