Are We Ready to Regulate?

Broadband Updates, Net Neutrality October 19th, 2009

, BroadbandBreakfast.com

The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a Washington-based group calling itself a “non-partisan public policy think tank committed to articulating and advancing a pro-productivity, pro-innovation and pro-technology public policy agenda,” has released a “WebMemo” asking “Are We Ready to Act on New Neutrality?: 10 Key Question that Need Answers.”

The ITIF’s memo notes that the FCC is preparing to vote this week on undertaking net neutrality rule making and that regardless of how the votes goes, the right decisions will depend on careful analysis of the implications of such rule making. The ITIF proposes 10 critical questions that require answers before any rule making begins.

A sampling of those questions includes:

  • Does any favoring of some packets over others by ISPs without individual consumer choice represent a per se violation, or is there some discrimination (blocking, degrading, charging for usage and network management) that is pro-competitive and pro-consumer.
  • Is differential pricing by ISPs of different users and/or different content and applications inherently bad, or can differential pricing be pro-consumer and pro-competition, and if so, what are the situations in which it is and is not?
  • Does quick discovery of potential ISP transgressions lead to correction in the marketplace due to public outcry and loss of customers or are ISP’s likely be able to “get away with” transgressions absent direct government action?
  • Does the FCC have the skill and inclination to effectively and expeditiously stop potential anti-competitive and anti-consumer practices by ISPs, and if they don’t can Congressional oversight substitute for this?

To view the entire list, visit: http://www.itif.org/files/WM-2009-06-neutrality.pdf

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