by Richard A. Epstein
January 21, 2014
This past week in Verizon v. FCC, the Federal Circuit Court for the District of Columbia addressed the mysterious role that net neutrality plays in the Federal Communications Commission’s regulatory arsenal. The definition of net neutrality stresses that a telecommunications company must treat all internet data equally, without any prioritization by content or price differentials. The FCC sought to regulate the operations of broadband companies by adopting certain anti-blocking, anti-discrimination, and disclosure rules. The case thus raises profound legal and social policy questions. Many net neutrality critics argue that the power to exclude is fraught with the risk of abuse. Yet, no broadband carrier wants to face the consumer wrath that would accompany intrusive interventions. The correct approach therefore is to do nothing. If some crisis occurs that merits new internet regulations, we can address that situation when it comes. But for the moment, innovation on the internet is doing great.