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CONTACT: Amy Smorodin
June 16 , 2006
(202) 289-8928
"Let the FTC Supervise Broadband Services"
PFF's Gifford Submits Testimony to U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee

WASHINGTON D.C. - The Federal Trade Commission, who currently has jurisdiction over broadband services, is best equipped to deal with network neutrality concerns, explains Raymond Gifford in written testimony submitted to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. Gifford, Senior Fellow and President of The Progress & Freedom Foundation, was asked to submit testimony for "Reconsidering Our Communications Laws: Ensuring Competition and Innovation," a hearing held earlier this week by the full committee.

In his testimony, Gifford cites both the Brand X decision and the FCC's Wireline Broadband Internet Access Order, which determined that broadband Internet is not a "common carrier" service. Therefore, he argues, such services would fall under the FTC's jurisdiction: “Let the FTC supervise broadband services.” Gifford summarizes why that agency is best equipped to address network neutrality concerns:

  • The FTC is dedicated to competition policy and consumer welfare and, therefore, claims for intervention will be grounded in specific claims of harm, not competitive disadvantage.
  • Since the FTC has general jurisdiction, it would be less vulnerable to intense rentseeking and the influence of interests groups.
  • The FTC focuses on specific instances of harm and engages in "after the fact" regulation that limits harm to a given set of facts, not across an entire industry.

Gifford also voices support of video franchising reform provisions, stating that "there is absolutely no reason in the future to keep the costly barriers and impediments to competition in place. Accordingly, the franchise reform parts of current legislation are a no-brainer, and if anything, should only be made stronger."

Gifford's entire written testimony is available on PFF website.

The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. It is a 501(c)(3) research & educational organization.



The Progress & Freedom Foundation