What if the FCC is the wrong agency to handle net neutrality?

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Is the Federal Communications Commission the wrong agency to handle matters of net neutrality and Internet openness? That's what some in Congress and elsewhere are suggesting. Instead, they say, ensuring that Internet providers don't abuse their network operator roles should be a matter for the Federal Trade Commission and antitrust law.

In a hearing, members of the House Judiciary Committee grilled current and former federal officials over the possibility of letting the FTC take on the punishing of broadband companies that have harmed consumers.

"Do you believe the FTC would be effective at protecting the competitive interest?" asked Rep Jason Smith (R-MO). Former Republican FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell and current FTC commissioner Joshua Wright told the committee that using the FTC to regulate companies after the fact would be enough and that the FCC does not need to regulate Internet service providers (ISPs).

So far, there's been no evidence of a market failure that would require the FCC's preemptive regulation, they said. But network neutrality advocate Tim Wu testified in the hearing that looking at Internet policy solely through the lens of antitrust law would ignore the non-economic harms that Internet providers could wreak on the Internet, such as suppressing speech and limiting diversity.

What if the FCC is the wrong agency to handle net neutrality? Dotcom Fairness Doctrine Specter Raised in Hill Hearing (Multichannel News)