More on Net Neutrality

Meridith Attwell Baker, an FCC commissioner, has an op-ed in today’s Washington Post, which argues that net neutrality will destroy the Internet’s future (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/20/AR2010122003901_Comments.html). From Ms Baker’s Chicken Little approach to net neutrality, you would never guess that the FCC has a long-established regulatory formula and procedures to regulate the rates that other utilities can charge cable companies for pole attachments. But it does : http://www.fcc.gov/eb/mdrd/PoleAtt.html.  In addition, All forms of communications transportation rides on public airwaves and rights-of-way established through the government’s powers of eminent domain.

I would argue that carriers should be subject to common carrier rules and regulations on transportation of voice and data. Content should be unregulated, even if provided by the same companies that provide carriage. Those who think this is impossible and will stifle innovation as well as competition should have a look at how the FERC regulates oil and natural gas pipeline transportation, with many carriers also providing “content” (i.e., sales of natural gas and oil) through separate corporate entities.

HEK

http://econpolicy.com

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