Net neutrality regulation is unnecessary; it is a solution in search of a problem. Internet users have long enjoyed access to the lawful content of their choice without any government intervention. During the last eight years, 2,000 U.S. broadband providers have completed literally quadrillions of Internet transmissions without incident. The FCC's December net neutrality decision is akin to the government regulating all beaches because they found a problem with one or two grains of sand. The FCC's net neutrality regulation is the ultimate in regulatory overreach and overkill.
Net neutrality regulation is unjustified. The FCC's Open Internet Order included: no market analysis indicating market failure to justify intervention; no assessment of the insufficiency of competition to justify abandoning 15-year-old competition policy; and no cost benefit analysis to show the speculative benefits of preemptive action would outweigh the real costs of Internet regulation. Ironically, the FCC's net neutrality regulation runs directly counter to President Obama's January Executive Order mandating "least burdensome" regulation in order to promote economic growth and job creation.
Net neutrality regulation is unwarranted. The entire broadband industry fully supports their customers being free to access lawful Internet content of their choice. When the complaint arose about Comcast's use of network management tools that limited BitTorrent, Comcast worked cooperatively with BitTorrent and others to collaboratively find a new acceptable, non-discriminatory, and reasonable network management approach.
Additionally, the broadband industry created a collaborative engineering working group (BITAG) to resolve network management issues without the need of government involvement, building upon the proven successful model of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Amazingly, the FCC offered no rationale why the FCC was better suited to resolve Internet engineering disputes than industry.
Net neutrality regulation is unproductive. Historically communications legislation has been bipartisan and near unanimous. The 1996 Telecom Act, which had the purpose of "promoting competition and reducing regulation," passed Congress near unanimously. That deep bipartisan consensus around promoting competition has been destroyed by some radical net neutrality proponents, who have unproductively polarized large swaths of communications policy by engaging in negative political campaign tactics of demonization and unsubstantiated allegations. The result has been an unproductive policy climate of controversy, fear, distrust, uncertainty, and liability that undermines productive investment, economic growth and job creation.
Net neutrality regulation is unwise. The age old wisdom of the Hippocratic Oath applies here: “first, do no harm.” So does the bedrock common sense notion: "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."
Net neutrality regulation is unpopular. Prior to the mid-term election, 302 members of Congress, a majority, wrote the FCC to urge the FCC to defer to Congress on net neutrality. In the 2010 mid-term election, all 95 candidates that signed a public pledge to support net neutrality regulation lost. Tellingly, net neutrality regulation went 0-95 in the only proxy referendum of the national electorate. Since the November mid-term election, and the FCC's December vote, a majority of the House has voted to defund the FCC's implementation of the order, and a formal Resolution of Disapproval of the FCC's net neutrality regulation is expected to pass by a majority of the House and possibly by a majority of the Senate. The evidence is overwhelming that net neutrality regulation is the single most politically unpopular FCC ruling in decades.
Net neutrality regulation is unlawful. Less than a year ago, the D.C. Court of Appeals ruled in Comcast vs. the FCC that the FCC did not have statutory authority to regulate broadband. If the FCC disagreed with that ruling, they should have appealed to the Supreme Court for vindication and resolution. Tellingly, the FCC did not. To make matters worse, the FCC's Open Internet Order repeated its previous grievous legal mistake by self-asserting near boundless implicit, or ancillary, legal authority to regulate anything that communications touches. Given that the U.S. Constitution is based on the foundational principle of separation of powers and given that Congress was given the sole Constitutional power to legislate, the courts are highly likely to rule the FCC's net neutrality regulations unlawful.
In sum, it is unbelievable that the political debate over net neutrality regulation must continue when net neutrality proponents' arguments are so devoid of merit, justification, evidence, productivity, wisdom, popularity, or lawfulness.
NetCompetition.org is a pro-competition e-forum supported by broadband interests.