The benefits and risks of mandating network neutrality
Americans have long enjoyed a free and open Internet in the absence of these regulations.Why is repealing net neutrality regulations a good first step towards protecting the Internet?Eliminating these rigid and harmful regulations on Internet providers would protect Internet freedom and create a more consumer-friendly telecom sector.Over the past decade, the FCC has sought to transform itself into an Internet regulator in spite of a clear directive from Congress to the contrary.Meanwhile, Europeans' average mobile broadband speeds are 30 percent slower than what Americans enjoy.These figures may not be as entertaining as John Oliver’s schtick advocating for net neutrality regulation, but the dangers of creating an Internet regulator are an economic reality that Americans should understand before turning the Internet into Ma Bell: stagnant, entrenched, and anything but innovative. The 2015 net neutrality regulations were an unwarranted government overreach by the FCC and run antithetical to what American consumers want and need online.
President Barack Obama earlier this month put the spotlight on the issue when he called on the FCC to “implement the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality.” But he muddied the debate when it comes to healthcare by saying the rule, “can have clear, monitored exceptions for reasonable network management and for specialized services such as dedicated, mission-critical networks serving a hospital.”But many critics of a net neutrality rule believe that allowing internet service providers to charge for a “fast lane” or “paid prioritization” would be helpful for innovation.
Even if these worst case scenarios come to pass, there are current laws enforced by the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission that would protect and reimburse harmed consumers.
In a network as dynamic as the Internet, with its array of known services and countless future unknown services, blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization allow future developers to innovate.
Although the consumer harms that net neutrality regulations are designed to prevent remain largely hypothetical, the harmful unintended consequences of those regulations are very real.
The broadband market in Europe, which has long been regulated like a utility, has experienced only half as much investment in wireline service as the United States.
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