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News Release
June 25, 2003
CONTACT: David Fish
(202) 289-8928

Note to FCC: No Need to Neuter the Net
May Cites Perils of "Net Neutrality"

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Federal Communications Commission should resist calls to regulate the Internet coming from an alliance of large companies organized under the banner of ‘net neutrality’. That is the advice of Progress & Freedom Foundation Senior Fellow and Director of Communications Policy Studies Randolph J. May, who says such regulations could harm the Internet and become weapons of corporate warfare in digital-age broadband battles. Views on all sides of this issue will be represented at a Friday, June 27, conference featuring senior government and corporate officials

According to May, Microsoft, Yahoo, consumer electronics companies and others are urging the FCC “to adopt the proverbial ‘simple rule’” to prevent broadband Internet providers, such as cable companies, from discriminating against unaffiliated companies. The problem is that no real threat has been shown to exist, and, in any event, the likely effects of regulation would be too costly.

“Any new regulation of Internet services in the name of ‘net neutrality’ is much more likely to result in a ‘net neutering’ that chills technological progress and economic growth,” May argues in an article published by CNET Wednesday. “There is no reason to expect anything other than the regulatory muddle that still bedevils telephone regulation.“ He warns of a potential future of “disputes concerning delivery and presentation of Web content that will be brought to the agency by competitors and their legion of attorneys invoking the ‘no-impairment’ rule in attempts to impair competitors’ business plans.”

“With cable and telephone companies slugging it out to sign up new broadband subscribers, and satellite, wireless, powerline and perhaps other platform providers looking to join the fray, it’s unlikely that service providers will be able to impose unreasonable service restrictions on unwilling consumers,” he writes.

Friday’s conference at the J.W. Marriott begins at 9:00 a.m. with a keynote by Assistant Secretary of Commerce Nancy J. Victory. A noon luncheon will feature a speech by W. Kenneth Ferree, chief of the FCC’s Media Bureau. Panelists will include represents of Cisco Systems,, Verizon and the FTC, National Cable & Telecom. Assoc., and Consumer Federation of America. Contact Rebecca Fuller at 202-289-8928 or to attend. The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the impact of the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. It is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1993.



The Progress & Freedom Foundation