FCC Takes Right Path in Developing Net Neutrality Rules

May 15, 2014

Contact:
William Dube
wdube@itif.org
202-626-5744

WASHINGTON - (May 15, 2014) In response to the vote today approving the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on net neutrality, Doug Brake, Telecom Policy Analyst with the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) releases the following statement:

"We applaud the release of the Commission's proposed regulations to ensure protection of the Open Internet. The NPRM will help bring the discussion from abstract sound bites down to a reasoned discussion grounded in the technical and economic facts of the Commission's proposal. In particular, the case-by-case approach allowing for limited prioritization of certain types of traffic, presented in the proposed rules, ultimately benefits the Internet as a whole and in no way threatens its openness. Much of the popular sentiment opposed to this provision originates from some fundamental misunderstandings about how packet differentiation would work in practice and what the proposed rules seem intended to prevent.

However, it is disappointing to see the Commission entertain some of the more drastic measures put forth by certain advocates, including the potential of classifying broadband as a Title 2, common carrier service. Title 2 was designed for the formal telephone monopoly of a bygone era and is not suited to the fast-paced innovation we see in IP networks. In addition, this type of heavy-handed regulation would risk costly litigation, bring significant uncertainty to a key sector of our economy, and may not even bring the consumer protections that net neutrality proponents desire.

We look forward to offering our input as the Commission moves forward with rules that reflect the realities of network management and opportunities for new applications and business models that will continue to drive innovation within the Internet. This is a great opportunity to quickly bring clarity to an otherwise murky and contentious area of policy and move on to other pressing issues facing the Commission. It is time to get this process underway."

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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.