Progressives Speak Out Against Internet Regulation


Posted by Robert Woodsum on Thursday, July 22nd, 2010, 11:06 AM PERMALINK


On Tuesday, the Progressive Policy Institute released a report, “The Coming Communications Boom?  Jobs, Innovation, and Countercyclical Regulatory Policy”, which stands to oppose the Federal Communication Commission’s desire to rule the Internet.  The report looks at this issue through an analysis of past recessions.  In these past recessions, there is an always an industry leader in job growth.  The key to this job growth, however, was a lack of regulation.  According to the report’s author, economist Michael Mandel, an industry needs the freedom to flourish and gain momentum.  Only after its success should there be any thought of regulation to continue a steady growth.  Mandel also believes that the communications sector will be the next leading industry during our current slump:

“Today, the broad communications sector is an innovation success story in an otherwise sluggish economy. And that success feeds on itself. The internet companies have access to bigger potential markets as the broadband providers deepen and extend their networks. The broadband companies benefit from innovative applications that drive traffic and demand. And the applications developers, small and large, are able to take advantage of new capabilities.”

Any regulation by the government on the innovative growth of the communications sector, i.e. Internet and broadband growth, will only stifle innovation.  Mandel so aptly puts it:  “In the worst case scenario, the incipient communications boom may be potentially undermined by a threat of aggressive federal rule-making.”  Furthermore, regulations need to be curtailed even, to create the perfect environment for innovation.  Mandel refers back to the tech and housing booms and notes that “permissive regulatory policy” was an important factor that lead to those industries’ respective successes.  Internet and broadband innovation will require that same regulatory philosophy.  “The innovative process is more fragile than it seems, so tightening up regulation at this early stage can potentially choke off the boom. Indeed, regulators should give the benefit of the doubt to innovative industries.”

Mandel’s report just reinforces other scholars and their research on Internet and broadband regulation and its potential negative affects on the economy.  Mandel and the Progressive Policy Institute also join members of Congress from both political parties, as well several leading minority and diversity groups in opposing the FCC and broadband reclassification.  Who else needs to voice their opposition before the FCC finally realizes the detrimental affects Internet regulation and Net Neutrality will inflict upon the economy?

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