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Argument: Internet has been successful w/o govt regs like net neutrality

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Arpan Sura. "The Problem With Network Neutrality". FreedomWorks. May 2, 2006 - "Network neutrality would constitute a major government initiative to regulate how the Internet as a commercial vehicle operates. Today, in America, Congress has virtually no power over how the Internet is run. Network neutrality is a sweeping and intrusive restriction. It would set a horrible precedent in terms of the government’s ability to meddle with the architecture and operation of the Internet. It also would create a spider web of laws and restrictions that generate uncertainty and open the floodgates for bureaucrats and lawyers to exploit semantic loopholes. We have done well enough without the government’s intrusion in the Internet, there’s no reason to start now.

If history has taught us anything, it’s that the government shouldn’t create rules that preemptively close off technological and business evolution. Doing so will lead to unintended consequences ... usually bad ones."

Kyle McSlarrow, President & CEO of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, said in a February 2006 Senate Commerce Committee hearing on Net Neutrality: "I would like to focus this morning on three main points.

First, Congress's policy of leaving the Internet unregulated has been a resounding success. The resulting network flexibility has encouraged billions of dollars in investment. Companies that include high speed Internet services among their offerings have the freedom to experiment with multiple business models, producing more choices and competition in content and providers for consumers, and more innovation than ever before.

Second, any change to this policy could have serious repercussions to continued network innovation and investment. Government, by its nature, is ill-equipped to make judgments about the best business models for an industry. This is especially true for a business as dynamic as the provision of high speed Internet services. It is clear that how those business models develop will directly affect the level of investment and innovation we can expect over the next few decades, but no one today can predict which business models will most effectively promote those goals.

Finally, in the absence of any problem calling for a legislative solution--and since the broadband services marketplace is characterized by robust competition--Congress should refrain from premature legislative action and allow the marketplace to continue to grow and change so network and applications providers can offer consumers the fullest range of innovative service options.

Congress's Decision to Leave the Internet Unregulated is an Unquestioned Success

Keeping the Internet free of regulation has helped to spur tremendous investment and competition in broadband networks and services. Left free to create new business opportunities and services, broadband providers (including cable operators, DSL, satellite and wireless operators) have invested billions of dollars to bring high-speed Internet access services to consumers across the nation. With bandwidth usage growing at a rapid pace, continued investment will be needed to keep broadband services robust.

If broadband providers are to continue to make these investments, and if consumers are going to be given the levels of services and innovative new products and features they desire, all at prices they can afford, broadband providers need to have continuing flexibility to innovate in the business models and pricing plans they employ. Likewise, websites and content providers also need the lexibility to experiment with business models, and to partner with broadband providers in doing so."[1]

Robert McDowell. "Hands off the Internet." Washington Post. April 9, 2010: "While the U.S. economy has shrunk substantially over the past two years, the Internet sector has flourished. Increasingly, our commerce and culture ride on the rails of high-speed, or "broadband," Internet access. But this success was not inevitable.

The Clinton administration set today's "hands-off" policy when the Internet was privatized in the mid-1990s. Amid the rubble of the dot-com bust, in 2002 the FCC sought to energize the nascent broadband sector by formally insulating the Internet from regulation. The commission classified broadband as unregulated "information services," establishing a framework that was designed to attract the investment of risk capital, foster competition, lower prices, fuel innovation and increase consumer adoption.

[...] It worked. In 2003, about 15 percent of American adults had access to broadband at home, according to a Pew Internet & American Life Study. Today that number is closer to two-thirds. Some form of broadband is available to roughly 95 percent of Americans.

Mobile broadband was virtually unheard of in 2002. By the end of last year, an estimated 100 million Americans subscribed to wireless broadband services. We lead the world in 3G networks.

The Web's free and open marketplace is thriving -- and evolving faster than any government or company can measure. It is, in short, the greatest deregulatory success story of all time.

Yet some seek government regulation of this constructively chaotic part of our economy.

Last fall, over dissenting votes from Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker and me, the FCC proposed rules to regulate high-speed Internet. Before embarking on any regulatory journey, it is critical for the government to ask and answer: What exactly is broken that only the government can fix?

Curiously, the commission proposed rules even though studies by the FCC and the Federal Trade Commission found no evidence of market failure. And when the Justice and Commerce departments filed comments with the FCC in January, neither provided evidence of concentrations and abuses of market power in the broadband arena. To the contrary, the Justice Department sounded optimistic about the competitiveness of the broadband market. It even warned against imposing new regulations "to avoid stifling the infrastructure investments needed to expand broadband access."

Nonetheless, the FCC may still consider imposing early-20th-century vintage "common carrier" regulations on 21st-century broadband technologies. One result of the new rules could be to make it harder for the operators of broadband "pipes" to build "smart" networks, which offer connectivity and other services or products."

John Kneuer. "A Hippocratic oath for the Internet?" The Daily Caller. April 8th, 2010: "For while it is true America has gaps in coverage and access for limited populations, it is also true that when viewed across the entire broadband ecosystem—access, software and applications, consumer devices, content and services—the United States not only enjoys a highly innovative, competitive, pro-consumer broadband market, but that the U.S. is at the epicenter of the entire global broadband economy.

Don’t believe it? Try out this thought exercise: name a non-U.S. Internet company that competes globally. Stumped? Off hand, I can think of two. Research in Motion, the Canadian developer of the Blackberry smart phones and innovator in wireless e-mail delivery; and Skype, the Estonian Internet phone call and video-conferencing software developer. Compare that with the litany of U.S.-based companies that lead the world in Internet innovation: Apple, Oracle, Yahoo, Microsoft, Intel, Qualcomm, Google, E-Bay, Amazon, YouTube, Twitter, FaceBook; the list goes on and our economy benefits from the jobs these companies create and the productivity gains they generate.

All of this innovation and investment takes place despite the absence of net neutrality regulation. Indeed the president himself seemed to miss the irony when he issued his most recent and explicit call for net neutrality on—wait for it—YouTube. A company that went from start-up, to global phenomenon, to multi-billion-dollar enterprise in less than two years. Indeed, YouTube’s success should not be possible if the fears of net neutrality proponents were well founded."

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