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What ‘net neutrality’ really means to consumers - Pacific Research Institute

What ‘net neutrality’ really means to consumers

WASHINGTON- In the past, when government has attempted to regulate networks, the result has been less choice, less innovation and more corruption. In the telecommunications industry, such regulations were so damaging that a second wave of regulations was devised to undo the damage caused by the first.

Despite this historical precedent, neutrality proponents paint regulation of the wireless industry as pro-competition, pro-innovation and pro-consumer. To justify imposing this broad regime of government control, they must argue that the wireless industry is “broken.”

Wireless with Strings Attached refutes this claim, and reveals how neutrality threatens to destroy a thriving and competitive market:

  • According to government statistics, 98 percent of customers can choose among three or more wireless providers, and no provider controls more than a 30 percent market share.
  • As a result of this competition, the cost charged per minute of mobile service has plummeted 85 percent over the last decade.
  • If wireless providers can be treated as public utilities, then any competitive business could fall under government control for any reason, at any time. This would result in higher prices, less competition and less innovation.
  • Proposed regulations are driven by companies seeking favorable outcomes from government that they cannot achieve in the market.

These outcomes will not benefit consumers. Wireless net neutrality would subvert market forces and usurp the freedom of consumers to choose the best technology, resulting in a consolidated industry built on fundamentally inferior technology.

More than 80 years of government mismanagement of the nation’s airwaves has created a system where regulators could impose a neutrality regime without any mandate from the American people or their elected representatives. The government continues to exercise complete control over the use and allocation of the airwaves, despite overwhelming evidence that treating spectrum like property is beneficial for both government and consumers.

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.

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