The debate over Internet regulation, aka net neutrality, dropped way off at the end of the last Congress, but it’s still bubbling out there. A good summary of the state of play recently over at ExchangeMag.com:
FCC Chairman Martin, known for advocating light regulation and pro-big-business policies, continues to draw flack from network providers and conservative think tanks for resurrecting the net neutrality debate. As they have before, they contend there is no need for regulation — they say the market will determine innovation, which regulation would stifle. And so, again, they have let loose with research and opinions.
For example, FreedomWorks, a policy group chaired by former U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey, insists there is no evidence of network favoritism. The Phoenix Center reiterates its stand that net neutrality would not result in lower prices for consumers. And the Competitive Enterprise Institute think tank even went so far as to advise the FCC to drop the matter entirely.
That’s because regulating the Internet means speeds would be frozen at today’s levels, says Wayne Crews, vice president for policy and director of technology studies at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. As bandwidth consumption grows thanks to ever-evolving applications, networks will need to increase speeds. But under net neutrality regulations, that couldn’t happen due to bureaucratic red tape, he says. This “will ultimately hurt content companies too,” Crews says.
UPDATE (12:30 p.m.): From the Daily Oklahoman:
“At its heart, the net neutrality debate is about price controls, and net-neutrality advocates want government regulation — rather than the open market — to determine what we pay for using the Internet,” said K. Lloyd Billingsley, editorial director at PRI and author of Net Gains or Net Losses?
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