WASHINGTON (Jan. 14, 2014) - In response to the D.C. Circuit Court's opinion striking down the no-blocking and nondiscrimination portions of the FCC's Open Internet Order, Robert Atkinson, President of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), releases the following statement.
"ITIF agrees with Judge Tatel that last-mile broadband providers should not be subject to common carrier non-discrimination requirements. The elimination of these rules will better protect the 'innovation at the edge' of our networks, while further promoting investment and network operators' flexibility to experiment and improve upon their architectures. Past ITIF research has shown that this flexibility in the network core was an important factor in making the Internet what it is today.
If we want latency-sensitive applications to flourish, discrimination among packets makes sense. While we understand the Commission's concerns about potential anti-competitive behavior, today's decision is not the "end of the Internet" some have claimed. Public outcry alone is likely enough to deter more egregious actions like outright blocking. DOJ or FTC investigations supported by a multi-stakeholder organization like BITAG could determine where normally pro-competitive vertical arrangements have gone too far, and with more subtlety and precision than ex-ante rules.
ITIF has long advocated for the so-called "third way" on net neutrality. With the right level of transparency, the two-sided market that this court decision recognizes can be beneficial for competition and consumers. Some oversight of anti-competitive behavior may be necessary, but this is best done on an ad hoc basis without overly-constraining rules. We welcome today's decision as in line with these principles."
The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) is a non-profit, non-partisan think tank whose mission is to formulate and promote public policies to advance technological innovation and productivity internationally, in Washington, and in the states. Recognizing the vital role of technology in ensuring prosperity, ITIF focuses on innovation, productivity, and digital economy issues. Learn more at www.itif.org.