NCTA President & CEO Kyle McSlarrow testified today at the Senate Committee on Energy and Commerce hearing “The Future of the Internet.” You can hear an MP3 of his delivered remarks and, earlier today, we featured a post that summarized his remarks.
I particularly note his remarks at 2:22, when he said:
Every single person here has a blog or a website or has content that has distribution and has enabled consumers, millions of them around this country, to [access] that content and no one is blocking it… We want as much content, we want as many applications to succeed as possible. That’s what makes our broadband service attractive to consumers. And if we ever engaged in conduct that consumers were outraged about, they do have a choice. They can go somewhere else.
He said that while we can have a discussion on what is the most appropriate method of network management, “…there is zero evidence that any operator is engaging in anticompetitive conduct.”
However, despite the paucity of evidence of such behavior, Professor Lawrence Lessig, a big proponent of net neutrality, said that some might argue that we should wait until we see discrimination before we do something about it – which strikes me as a sensible approach to legislation – but that hi-tech investments are made today based on what investors think the network will look like in the future. He says there is such extraordinary uncertainty about what the future holds that it threatens innovation. Threats about what might happen without net neutrality have been around for five years, back to Columbia Law Professor Tim Wu‘s 2003 paper Network Neutrality, Broadband Discrimination. I wouldn’t say that investors are shying away from promising broadband applications.
There was also a great deal of talk about what one person referred to as the United States’ “precipitous freefall” in terms of our global broadband ranking. I refer you back to our series on the problems with the OECD rankings, especially this post: The Truth About Japanese Broadband.