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Net neutrality task force formed

With the net neutrality debate raging on the other side of the pond, the US Federal Trade Commission has formed an Internet Access Task Force to take a look at the issues at stake.

Earlier this week, FTC chairman Deborah Platt Majoras told a meeting of the Progress & Freedom Foundation that she has formed a task force to examine issues being raised by converging technologies and regulatory developments. “I also have asked the Internet Access Task Force to address what is likely the most hotly debated issue in communications, so-called ‘network neutrality,'” she said.

“I urge caution in proceeding on the issue. I question the starting assumption that government regulation, rather than the market itself under existing laws, will provide the best solution to a problem,” Majoras said.

The FTC expressed caution in its approach, warning that broad regulatory mandates that employ a ‘one size fits all’ philosophy always have unintended consequences. In this case, the authority questions whether net neutrality or similar legislation could have the effect of entrenching existing broadband platforms and market positions, as well as adversely affecting the levels of future innovation and investment.

The end result could be a diminution, rather than an increase, in competition, to the detriment of consumers, Majoras said.

“While I am sounding cautionary notes about new legislation, let me make clear that if broadband providers engage in anticompetitive conduct, we will not hesitate to act using our existing authority. But I have to say, thus far, proponents of net neutrality regulation have not come to us to explain where the market is failing or what anticompetitive conduct we should challenge; we are open to hearing from them,” she said.


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