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Hands Off The Web

Apr 1, 2008

The Competitive Enterprise Institute filed public comments with the Federal Communications Commission, urging the commissioners not to regulate the speed and pricing of traffic across broadband networks. CEI's comments emphasized the problems with locking in a regulatory structure that would slow investment, innovation and growth in such a rapidly evolving industry.

"Nothing important can be known today about proper pricing and routing of content on the networks of tomorrow; nothing can be gained and a lot can be lost by prescribing it now, or imposing conditions on how producers make their decisions or disclose information," said Wayne Crews, CEI VP for policy and director of technology policy. "In fact, most of the allegedly problematic behaviors cited by the FCC actually signify healthy economic activity, whether carried out by access providers or content providers."

Proponents of regulating broadband traffic argue that all content should be delivered with the same speed, a concept that has been called, "network neutrality." They fear that not regulating network owners will leave the Internet at the mercy of a few large companies.

The source of the practical problems that worry them, however, is often not a lack of competition per se, but the many legal and regulatory barriers to wider broadband deployment related to franchise, zoning, and environmental concerns.

"Fundamentally, net neutrality rests upon the fallacy that infrastructure and content companies are naturally at odds, and that competition and customer service thus require political force. In reality, the sides are being driven, even coaxed, into this unnatural conflict by a highly charged political environment that hews to a flawed philosophy of how network wealth is created," said Crews.

CEI is a non profit, non partisan public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government. For more information about CEI, visit

Topic: Wholesale News

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Article ID: 562

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