Tuesday, May 2, 2006 - The Progress & Freedom Foundation Blog

Net Neut*--Study First, Mandate Later

I haven't digested all of the various ingredients that make up the Stevens sausage. Like my colleaugue Adam Thierer, I know enough to know it is not DACA-like in its fundamental thrust, and that's too bad. (Note to Adam: You say that Sen. DeMint has recently introduced a bill based "loosely" on the DACA framework. I know that Sen. DeMint is pleased to acknowledge, as he has, that his S. 2113, the Digital Age Communications Act, follows the DACA framework pretty darn closely.)

Apart from whatever else the Stevens bill does or doesn't do, its approach to Net Neut* makes more sense than any bill other than Sen. DeMint's. Unlike the Barton bill, Sen. Stevens' bill simply requires the FCC to study the issue and file annual reports with Congress concerning developments. Especially in light of the fact that presently there are no indentified consumer harms that need remedying. this "study first, mandate later" approach is much to be commended. (In truth, should we expect any less?)

BTW, I believe that imposing anticipatory broad-brush mandates preventing any differentiation of services on the net will diminish investment in new high-speed facilities and innovative applications, thereby neutering the net. So, in my view what the proponents of new Internet regulations are arguing for is Net Neutering, not Net Neutrality. Henceforth, I refuse to go along with the name game the Net regulators are playing by accepting the use of the "neutrality" claim. I say it's Net Neutering. But in the interest of being, uh, neutral, I am willing just to refer to the issue as "Net Neut*" with the universal asterisk indicating anyone can complete as they prefer ....That way, maybe we can strip the emotion out of the debate, and look at the economic realities.

posted by @ 2:15 PM |