Wayne Crews: Unnecessary FCC Regulation Would Deter Broadband Innovation
Competitive Enterprise Institute Vice President for Policy Wayne Crews has published an op-ed in the Daily Caller today on net neutrality. Crews rights that the FCC has completed another round of comment gathering on proposed broadband regulations, which Crews says, “It is important to appreciate the profound significance of the fact that the FCC is unwilling to even affirm that it will leave future managed, specialized Internet services alone. And wireless services? The FCC is chomping at the bit to regulate those.”
“’Agency neutrality’ is the only proper public policy; just leave the competitive marketplace alone. But the FCC won’t even stay out of what doesn’t exist yet.
While for the time being, customized services are largely exempt from regulatory scrutiny, the FCC clearly wants that to change: ‘[W]e are sensitive to any risk that the growth of managed or specialized services might supplant or otherwise negatively affect the open Internet,’ the agency said in an earlier request for comments. The agency asked — as if it were even conceivable in this predatory environment for no one to take the bait and say ‘yes’ — ‘Should any of the rules proposed here for broadband Internet access service apply to managed or specialized services?’
“The FCC is not asking for input to dissuade itself, it intends to regulate; this is not a ‘should we?’ proceeding, it is a ‘we are going to’ proceeding. Unless Congress stops it, of course; that’s where we are now with autonomous, unelected, unaccountable agencies across government.”
“What the FCC, in every important respect, fails to realize is that property foundation’s importance for wealth creation in frontier areas — like broadband infrastructure deployment and pricing — in which property rights have yet to be adequately extended. Liberalization and embracing proprietary regimes affords limitless room for neutrality; but a compulsory neutrality regime that undermines specialized services would hinder proprietary decisions over pricing and access policies and effectively ‘ban’ new infrastructure of that kind.”
“Thus the proper stance from which to think about net neutrality is that we’re 10 years away from a communications revolution, and 20 years away from the one after that, and so on; or stated differently, innovations will churn along long after we’re long gone. But what we can say is that imposing neutrality on a sub-par network, and particularly extending the concept to new private managed services and wireless networks, locks in 2010.”
Read the full op-ed here.