May 11, 2020
Net Neutrality and Coronavirus
Two years ago the Federal Communications Commission repealed net neutrality, and many predicted disaster as a result. In a new op-ed in USA Today, AAF President Douglas Holtz-Eakin notes that the coronavirus pandemic has been a perfect test of these predictions, given the unprecedented demand for internet streaming. Far from triggering disaster, however, the pandemic has demonstrated the internet’s strength in the United States — strength that is a direct result of the United States’ light regulatory approach, he argues.
This pandemic has shown the tremendous value of the internet, and there have been calls for the government to provide more broadband as a result. But policymakers at all levels of government should steel themselves against calls to step in and dictate regulatory requirements that limit technology choices and business models. Our distinct advantage in this crisis has not just been our tech sector; it has also been a technology policy that has allowed that sector to grow.
An important and simple lesson is before us: Federal policies that unleash innovative and competitive forces, penalize anti-competitive conduct, and let consumers vote with their dollars and their feet are the recipe for success in building digital infrastructure. Heavy-handed government regulations are not.