Expansion of Net Neutrality Rules Threatens Consumer Choice, CEI Warns

Washington, D.C., October 12, 2010—In regulatory comments submitted today to the Federal Communications Commission, the Competitive Enterprise Institute warned against imposing net neutrality regulations on “mobile wireless platforms” and “specialized services.”

The FCC sought comment on two “under-developed” issues in its Open Internet proceeding – how to impose openness rules on specialized services, such as digital video and voice, and on mobile wireless platforms.

“The Commission’s proposed regulations on wireless and specialized services represent the very worst of the net neutrality push,” argues Ryan Radia, CEI Associate Director of Technology Studies. “Instead of marching forward on the path of ‘Open Internet’ rulemaking, the Commission should return to the drawing board and focus on developing a truly pro-consumer approach to telecommunications rulemaking—one that fosters the creation of content and infrastructure wealth without favoring certain industries or technologies over others.”

Radia’s comments emphasize how mobile users will suffer under proposed net neutrality regulations. The wireless market is competitive and rapidly evolving; mobile users already enjoy a staggering array of choices among mobile applications and devices. Net neutrality regulations—which allegedly purport to stimulate less competitive wireline broadband markets—make little sense in the context of the wireless market.

“That the Commission is even thinking about imposing openness mandates on mobile ecosystems should merit swift Congressional action to reign in the agency’s authority,” Radia says.

He further argues that “[e]xtending so-called openness rules to specialized services underscores net neutrality’s true nature – an assault on private property rights. Ironically, in decades hence, the very specialized services the Commission views as antithetical to consumer choice may become even more crucial to content and application providers than the Open Internet is today.”

“The profound technical and economic questions that surround network operation, access, and pricing simply cannot be answered by bureaucrats in Washington. The horror stories told by net neutrality advocates will come true only if competition among network operators is suppressed through regulatory overreach.”

Read Radia’s full comments here. For further information, contact Ryan Radia at [email protected] or 202.331.2281