Wednesday the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a report called "Broadband Connectivity Competition Policy" recommending that policy makers take a hands-off approach to regulating the Internet. The report states that the Internet is becoming more competitive, not less; therefore, Congress should let it flourish by not attempting to regulate it. It cautions lawmakers that their legislation could cause unintended consequences no matter how well intentioned that the legislation may be.
Although it took them 169 pages to say, "No new laws," they came up with the right conclusion. I have stated in previous blogs that most laws end up plagued by the Law of Unintended Consequences. So why draft new laws to regulate something that is working well for our economy. Now the FTC confirmed it.
I would actually like to see a communications company add a differentiated service just to see if the market accepts it. My assumption would be that third-party VoIP providers would jump at the chance to guarantee a specific quality of service. If the service fails to catch on, then capitalism works. It is a non-issue and the Internet survives.
My fear is Congress will ignore this report and take up net neutrality again in the fall session. Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) is the likely candidate to propose such legislation with the support of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). They always think that they know what is best for us and firmly believe that capitalism is flawed. Let's hope that cooler heads in Congress will heed the FTC's cautionary tale and leave the Internet alone.