President Obama recently urged the Federal Communications Commission
to impose common carrier regulation on the Internet access industry. The
industry has been the focus of rapid technological change characterized by
movement from analog to digital transmissions, from fixed to mobile service
and from lower to higher speeds or bandwidths. One consequence has been
to increase the number of alternative providers available to most households.
While it is always possible that various threats to competition and economic
efficiency may arise down the road, there is little current evidence to support
a call for Title II regulation. Indeed, such regulation in the past has caused
more consumer harm than good, partly by enhancing industry influence on
politicians and regulators, and partly by distorting prices and discouraging
investment and innovation.