By guest blogger PROF. STUART N. BROTMAN, faculty member at Harvard Law School and author of the study Net Vitality: Identifying the Top-Tier Global Broadband Internet Leaders published by The Media Institute. Prof. Brotman is a member of the Institute’s Global Internet Freedom Advisory Council. The full version of this article appeared in The Hill on April 24, 2015.
The Federal Communication Commission’s recent Open Internet Order is intended to develop an enforceable regulatory scheme to ensure that net neutrality would be achieved. One of its rationales is that unless such government intervention is put in place, the United States is likely to slip into the category of Internet also-rans, hurting innovation and our economy as a whole as Internet “fast lanes” and “slow lanes” thwart competition and impede consumer demand.
But how accurate is this perception? The Internet, after all, is not just a network of networks, but rather a complex ecosystem comprised of applications and content, devices, and networks. The interdependency of these three pillars creates the rich experience of the Internet, not just in the United States, but all around the world.
And consumer usage patterns continue to be extraordinarily dynamic, as well. More people now access the Internet through mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, than on desktops and laptops tethered in homes, for example. And more people now rely on apps rather than browsers to get the information and help they need more readily. Policies premised on fixed residential use of fiber-based broadband do not seem to recognize that these seismic changes already have occurred. >> Read More