New study says protecting net neutrality good for the economy

The president of a trade association representing broadband providers fired back on Wednesday, dismissing the report as "silly."

“This is a silly study, intended to alarm, and once again based entirely on an unrealistic ‘what if’ scenario," said USTelecom president Walter B. McCormick Jr. "The facts are that consumers are experiencing no problems in the marketplace, and by the FCC’s own conclusions, an overwhelming 91 percent are satisfied with their Internet service...Studies that suggest otherwise lack both ‘policy integrity’ and credibility.”

The report notes that most ISPs do not currently engage in paid prioritization or other forms of price discrimination that would violate the principles of net neutrality, nor have they announced any plans to change that approach despite an April court ruling that called into question the FCC's authority to enforce net neutrality.

But the authors argue the status quo must be preserved in order to prevent ISPs from discriminating against rival or independent content providers. They also argue the large amount of uncertainty that would arise from price discrimination would hamper business investments.

In particular the report favors the FCC's approach to pricing changes, which requires government approval before changing subscriber rates. The Google-Verizon deal would allow ISPs to change their pricing plans without notification but give the FCC the power to overrule them if it receives complaints.