Obama’s Net Neutrality Plan is Bad for Consumers

WASHINGTON – In response to President Obama’s net neutrality speech today, calling on the FCC to create the “strongest possible rules” to regulate the Internet, Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) technology policy experts Ryan Radia and Wayne Crews explain why this is a terrible idea that would have a negative impact on consumers.

Statement by Ryan Radia, CEI Associate Director of Technology Studies:
“The President's call for the FCC to regulate the Internet – including broadband services that have until now remained free from common carriage mandates – is deeply troubling for consumers. The Internet has thrived because of the government's calculated restraint for two decades, a recognition of the competitive and dynamic nature of the Internet ecosystem. Creative new ways to finance sustainable broadband infrastructure, as well as rich online content, should be welcomed, not shunned. As the Internet matures, business models will evolve, and new relationships will be forged. Yet the President's proposal would entrench legacy practices, foreclosing myriad possibilities for Internet innovation and growth. And, it would threaten broadband companies of all sizes with regulation even more onerous than what the President proposed today.”

Statement by Wayne Crews, CEI Vice President for Policy:
“Today, the President is urging an independent agency to contort a statute written long before the Internet emerged so he can impose a new regulatory regime. He’s wrongly putting himself in the position of picking favorite business models for the Internet marketplace. Most things are not public policy issues, yet get turned into such. The President’s written statement is purely about taking a thriving enterprise — our wild and wonderful Internet — and turning it into a public utility.

“The statement alternatively praises the Internet Service Providers who, as he acknowledges, already do the things he wants to regulate them into doing, and then demeans them as ‘monopolies’ and ‘gatekeepers.’ Obama invokes ‘blocking’ and ‘throttling’ as actions ISPs will take as justification for regulation. But this is not what ISPs do. If they misbehave, they’ll pay dearly. They are Internet Service Providers; it says it right there in the name. They are how we get to the Net.

"Congress needs to send the President a message to leave the Internet alone.”

> Read the full commentary for Forbes.com