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The internet champions “permissionless innovation,” the ability to develop new services without tedious negotiation and approval. As the FCC makes its third attempt to develop a fair, coherent, and lawful regulatory policy for the internet, it can either apply this principle or it can adopt Title II — a contrary rule that once limited the pace of innovation in the historic telephone network.
To date, Netflix, like thousands of other Internet companies, pays third parties for transit. Now it wants to get the service for free through regulated price controls and a reclassification of broadband providers as common carriers. It has even invoked net neutrality, a concept that applies to managing traffic on last-mile networks, to justify its claim.
The FCC’s net neutrality rules are based on the false premise that American broadband services are sub-standard compared to those in other countries. In fact, the market is meeting consumer needs and outperforming every comparable market in the world.
European Union leaders are so desperate for re-election in May that they will sacrifice their very platform for the sake of net neutrality and free roaming, feel good palliatives that pander to voters.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings doesn't like paying for Internet connectivity. For decades, content providers, websites, ISPs, and consumers have paid fees to connect to the next level of the network. Call it Internet access, or call it "transit" or "paid peering." But Hastings has a better idea. "Instead," Hastings demands "they must provide sufficient access to their network without charge."
There are strong arguments in favor of allowing the third largest US wireless carrier, Sprint, to acquire the fourth, T-Mobile, but Sprint Chairman (and Softbank CEO) Masayoshi Son's assertion that current performance of the U.S. mobile market is "terrible" isn't among them.
Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Greg Walden, R-Ore., chairman of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee, have launched a multi-year effort to reform the Communications Act of 1934. Already their effort has been lauded by Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), who deemed the effort warranted and necessary.
In the U.S., headlines often read that America is falling behind other nations, particularly the European Union, and that to achieve next generation broadband availability, more government involvement is needed. But government-led broadband is truly a house of cards: The U.S. has far better Internet service than the EU, and the EU says so.
Join AEI’s Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy as we ask our visiting fellows to look into the crystal ball and make predictions for 2014.
AEI’s Jeffrey Eisenach will argue in favor of a generic antitrust enforcement model with primary enforcement by the FTC and Jonathan Baker of American University will maintain that an industry-specific regulator like the FCC is needed to work with antitrust enforcers to shape competition in the broadband industry. The debate will be moderated by US Court of Appeals Judge Stephen Williams.
Please join AEI as the chief actuary for Medicare summarizes the report’s results, followed by a panel discussion of what those spending trends are likely to mean for seniors, taxpayers, the health industry, and federal policy.
Please join us as four of Washington’s most distinguished political observers will revisit the Watergate hearings and discuss reforms that followed.