"It Makes No Sense to Be Concerned with Hypothetical Market Power Issues," Argues Lenard in Filing, Writes that Net Neutrality Inhibits Investment that Would Benefit Consumers
WASHINGTON D.C. - June 14, 2007 – Thomas Lenard, acting President of The Progress & Freedom Foundation (PFF) filed comments today with the FCC on the Commission's Notice of Inquiry on Broadband Industry Practices adopted March 22, 2007. In the filing, Lenard urges the Commission not to adopt a new Net Neutrality regulation that would subject broadband providers to an open access requirement.
"The danger is that we will adopt a net neutrality regime that inhibits investment in broadband, deters entry by new competitors, and limits the content available," Lenard wrote. "Such an outcome would harm consumers."
Proponents of open access are concerned that broadband providers have market power which they can use to discriminate against content providers, but, Lenard comments, there is no evidence that a current problem exists.
"It makes no sense to be concerned with hypothetical market power issues when it is not yet clear what viable business models for broadband will look like and whether providers will be able to recoup the large sums being invested," he wrote. "In general, it will be much better to apply a case-by-case approach to alleged abuses, to attempt to sort out those cases that truly are anti-competitive and detrimental to consumers, and to then devise appropriate remedies."
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.