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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Out of the Telechasm, Into the Spotlight
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The WSJ's lead editorial today, entitled "Out of the Telechasm," [subscription required] prominently features Sen. DeMint's Digital Age Communications Act. It is no secret that here at PFF, we take some pride that Sen. DeMint's bill largely mirrors work produced in conection with our DACA project. (This is a real credit to the team of experts from PFF and other think tanks and universities who participate in the Working Groups.)

Please read the entire editorial. But here is one of the quotes endorsing the approach in Sen. DeMint's bill:

"Last year the FCC published a non-binding set of Net neutrality "principles" laying out what consumers are "entitled" to --basically, choices about the content they see, the devices they use and the networks they connect to. However, giving the FCC the power to enforce these rules against Web sites and network owners alike would open a Pandora's box of intrusive regulation and litigation. The far better solution would be to start from scratch, a la Mr. DeMint's Senate bill. It says, in effect, that telecom companies should be regulated on the basis of fair competition standards used everywhere else in the economy. Rather than trying to legislate competitive outcomes, as the 1996 Telecommunications Act did, Congress could allow open-field running save for anyone who violates antitrust rules."

The editorial concludes that "it's time to rethink, and the more fundamental, the better."

PS--Note that the editorial picks up on the point I've been making here and here that the Barton bill's incorporation of the FCC's net neutrality rules would give the agency "the power to enforce these rules against Web sites and network owners alike," opening a Pandora's box of intrusive regulation and litigation. For the life of me, I can't figure out why the Googles, Yahoos, and other Amazons of cyberspace don't foresee that they are putting themselves in a position where they will be forced to learn a lot more about FCC adjudication than they might like, and a lot more than will be good for the rest of us who fancy an unregulated Internet.

posted by Randolph May @ 1:16 PM |

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