Washington, D.C., July 28, 2008—The Federal Communications Commission is preparing this week to expand its control over how telecom firms manage Internet traffic over their own networks. With a planned rebuke of Comcast, the Commission will be moving dramatically toward a policy of greater government control and micro-management of broadband traffic, according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
“Contrary to the message being portrayed in the media, Comcast has never blocked web videos or prevented consumers from accessing certain services,” said Competitive Enterprise Institute Research Associate Ryan Radia. “Rather, Comcast was simply limiting peer to peer uploading during peak hours to relieve network congestion and ensure that its customers could access websites without hiccups.”
Regardless of the details of Comcast’s network management procedures, the FCC’s action here lies outside its legal authority. The “four principles” that Comcast allegedly violated are only codified in the Commission’s Internet Policy Statement, which is non-binding and does not hold the force of law.
“We all can probably agree that we want tomorrow’s Internet at the speed of light, not at the speed of government,” said Competitive Enterprise Institute Vice President for Policy Wayne Crews. “A useful starting point is to appreciate that most customers have no real broadband today: cable and DSL are a trickle compared to the Niagara needed tomorrow. Freezing today’s Internet into a regulated public utility via net neutrality regulation – as the FCC seems hell-bent on doing – would be the worst possible move, slowing investment and innovation and resulting in fewer new companies, products and technologies.”
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