Sustaining Network Openess

An ex-FCC advisor looks to the future of network development: Is an ‘open’ Internet a doomed concept?

Most openness mandates, by themselves, don’t ensure that consumers get the bulk of the benefit created as more devices, content and applications make broadband networks more valuable.

The last thing the broadband world needs is more regulation.
Rather, these mandates shift the benefit from the companies building networks to companies that develop the devices, content and applications.

To reduce the risk that Congress or the FCC will pick winners and losers in this manner, network owners would do well to offer their own voluntary commitments to preserve consumers’ freedom to choose the devices, content and applications. In early 2004, former FCC Chairman Powell challenged them to do as much.

Because voluntary approaches can remain agnostic as to which companies benefit most as broadband networks grow in value, they offer the prospect of preserving openness while also preserving critical incentives to invest in broadband infrastructure.