In 2010, Congress failed to enact legislation authorizing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to enforce network neutrality rules. In 2011, Congress is widely expected to again take up net neutrality, a policy that would make it illegal for broadband providers to “unreasonably” discriminate among different kinds of Internet traffic. Net neutrality regulations would obstruct beneficial market arrangements for distributing digital content. Worse, they would stifle infrastructure wealth creation in network industries by undermining property rights and turning market contests over network pricing and access disputes into political battles.
Advocates of neutrality regulation argue that is necessary to prevent Internet service providers (ISPs) from either censoring or degrading certain kinds of traffic. However, neither of these concerns justifies federal regulation of Internet providers.