FTC Broadband Report Finds No Need For Net Neutrality Regulation; Urges Caution

WASHINGTON - The Federal Trade Commission's Internet Access Task Force Wednesday (June 27) issued its report on broadband competition policy.  Entitled "Broadband Connectivity Competition Policy," it follows the agency's two-day public workshop in February 2007 on broadband competition issues.

FTC Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras said in the agency news release, "This report recommends that policy makers proceed with caution in the evolving, dynamic industry of broadband Internet access, which generally is moving toward more - not less - competition. In the absence of significant market failure or demonstrated consumer harm, policy makers should be particularly hesitant to enact new regulation in this area."

The FTC report warns that "Policy makers also should carefully consider the potentially adverse and unintended effects of regulation in the area of broadband Internet access before enacting any such regulation. Industry-wide regulatory schemes - particularly those imposing general, one-size-fits-all restraints on business conduct - may well have adverse effects on consumer welfare, despite the good intentions of their proponents. Even if regulation does not have adverse effects on consumer welfare in the short term, it may nonetheless be welfare-reducing in the long term, particularly in terms of product and service innovation. Further, such regulatory schemes inevitably will have unintended consequences, some of which may not be known until far into the future. Once a regulatory regime is in place, moreover, it may be difficult or impossible to undo its effects."

The following statement should be attributed to Tom Tauke, Verizon executive vice president for public affairs, policy and communications.

"Verizon supports an open Internet, and we are proud to offer our customers high-speed access to the services they want.  The Federal Trade Commission report confirms that there is no problem to fix.  Proposals to impose new regulation actually threaten further advancements in broadband Internet connections.  That hurts consumers by denying them new and better services."