Researcher Rebukes Wireless ‘Net Neutrality’ Advocates

The attempt to force network neutrality on wireless carriers will result in disaster and is based on faulty assumptions, including one that there ever was neutrality on the Internet, according to a newly released analysis from the Pacific Research Institute (PRI).

In what is essentially an upbraiding of emerging FCC plans to mandate wireless neutrality, and those backing such FCC regulation, Daniel Ballon, PRI Policy Fellow in Technology Studies, argues that calls for wireless net-neutrality regulations from the FCC “merely brings back failed policies of the past to suit certain corporate interests.”

Ballon, prior to joining PRI, was science and technology policy advisor for former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich at the American Enterprise Institute.

“When government has attempted to regulate networks, the result has been less choice, less innovation, and more corruption,” he says. “In the telecommunications industry, for example, such regulations were so damaging that a second wave of regulations was necessary to undo the damage caused by the first.”

He continues, “Network neutrality encompasses a vast array of regulations, rules and restrictions traditionally imposed on public utilities to protect the public good. Though the term may be a recent invention, its underlying concept is a time-tested failure. Neutrality rules played little role in the birth or development of the Internet, but were indispensable for creating and protecting the twentieth-century AT&T monopoly referred to as ‘Ma Bell.’ A ‘neutral’ network operates like a road without speed limits, lane markings or traffic lights” – and that’s a bad thing.

And while Ballon is writing primarily about attempts by some to adopt an enforced “net neutrality” on wireless networks, to make his point, he similarly trashes net neutrality as a valid concept for the wired Internet as well.

Nothing contained in this blog is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacific Research Institute or as an attempt to thwart or aid the passage of any legislation.

Scroll to Top