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Academics urge FCC to enforce net neutrality on case-by-case basis

Grant Gross | Dec. 9, 2014
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission should weigh in on net neutrality and encourage its sister agency, the Federal Communications Commission, to back away from calls to regulate broadband like a public utility, a group of 32 academics said.

Matt Wood, policy director for net neutrality advocacy group Free Press, discounted an antitrust-like, case-by-case regulatory approach.

"Net Neutrality does not exist merely to protect Skype or YouTube from the anticompetitive actions of Comcast or AT&T, though that's one benefit," Wood said by email. "Net Neutrality is much broader than that, protecting users' rights to send and receive the information of their own choosing."

Strong net neutrality rules would protect consumers and Web content providers against unreasonable interference by broadband providers, "no matter the motivation for such interference," Wood added "In other words, even in situations where antitrust claims would be impossible to make because the blocked content or service is not in competition with the broadband provider's offerings."

Net neutrality enforced through antitrust-like measures could "take years to litigate and millions of dollars" to bring a lawsuit against a broadband provider, Wood said. "You can see some of the few reasons that putting the FCC on the sidelines is an idea only a cable or telecom company could love."

 

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