Changing Antritust Laws May Not Be the Whole Solution for Net Neutrality

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House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) wants to repeal the current net neutrality rules — even if it takes amending antitrust law. But economist Hal Singer says that’s not the solution. While antitrust law has typically sought to address “concrete harms” like price increases, it hasn’t recognized what he calls “mild forms of discrimination.” That includes an ISP prioritizing one set of internet content over another to promote its own interests to the detriment of its competitors. The antitrust laws might be changed to more explicitly address the harm such discrimination can do to innovation. But Singer, principal at Economists Inc. and senior fellow at George Washington University’s Regulatory Studies Center, says the review process under the antitrust framework would simply take too long — up to 10 years, potentially deterring future startups and threatening the well-being of current ones. Instead, Singer says Congress could establish a “net tribunal.” In a phone interview Tuesday, Singer said an administrative law judge could assess harm on a complaint-driven, case-by-case basis using a nondiscrimination standard that would also apply to major tech companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon.


Changing Antritust Laws May Not Be the Whole Solution for Net Neutrality