Opening Bottlenecks: On Behalf of Mandated Network Neutrality


This paper calls for mandated “network neutrality,” the principle that broadband service providers (BSPs) should generally treat all nondestructive data equally. Without such a mandate, BSPs will likely begin charging content providers for the right to send data at the fastest speeds available. The present frequency with which BSPs block some data entirely will also likely increase.

Neutral networks are preferable for two key reasons. First, they spawn innovation, as illustrated by the explosive online innovation to date. Second, neutral networks better distribute communication power, promoting First Amendment values. Extant and likely future acts of discrimination erode both goals. The danger is real in the highly concentrated broadband market; BSPs have the incentives and means to engage in a high degree of broadband discrimination.

This paper further demonstrates that ad hoc regulation is ineffective in dissuading even grossly anticompetitive network discrimination. Further, network congestion can be and is managed adequately without resorting to discrimination. Finally, it rejects Christopher Yoo’s call for multiple special-purpose networks as both unrealistic and undesirable.


Communications Law | Computer Law | Internet Law | Science and Technology Law

Date of this Version

April 2006