Thursday, March 23, 2006 - The Progress & Freedom Foundation Blog

Net Neutrality = Common Carriage

I participated in an FCBA seminar on Net Neutrality today. After listening to the proponents explain why they advocate an anticipatory NN mandate, I made a simple point up front. What is really being advocated is the impostition of a common carrier regime on broadband Internet service providers. In other words, let's call a spade a spade: Net Neutrality equals Common Carriage. At the FCBA program, Harold Feld of the Media Access Project and Jonathan Lee of COMPTEL both had no hesitancy whatsoever in admitting that their own view of a net neutrality means imposition of a traditional common carrier regime on broadband and in trying to defend this position.

I disagree that we want to impose a common carrier regime on an increasingly competitive broadband marketplace. Another way of saying that is that I am glad for the sake of sound communications policy that cable won the Brand X case. But what I am saying now is simply this: The whole net neutrality debate would make a lot more sense--and be conducted on a much more honest plane--if those advocating NN mandates just said, as Harold and Jonathan did today, that "What we want is to impose common carrier obligations on broadband Internet providers."

posted by Randolph May @ 4:12 PM |