New Study Finds Net Neutrality Inhibits Broadband Investment

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A study of net neutrality regulations in 32 Organizations for Economic Co-0peration and Development (OECD) countries has found that such regulations “suppress (both) broadband subscriptions and investment in fiber optics.” So writes Mark Jamison, Visiting Scholar, American Enterprise Institute, in a blog post entitled, “If Biden is Serious About Broadband, He Should Oppose Net Neutrality. “

Outgoing FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has repeatedly said the same thing, pointing out how broadband investment declined in the years immediately following the Commission’s 2015 order to treat internet service providers as telecommunications companies. Investment surged to historic levels when the FCC ended net neutrality rules by changing internet/broadband services back to information services in a 2017 order.

Now, the empirical OECD study backs up Pai’s assertions, “by statistically analyzing the data that emerged from the diversity of net neutrality decisions by OECD countries over time,” according to Mr. Jamison.

He found that the research “made two critical decisions that didn’t hold in the real world. One was that   network performance would be modeled as though the network was a single monolith.” This was too simplistic, “meaning that…the incentives analyzed applied differently in every network juncture. The other…was that broadband subscribers would respond less to network speed than content providers would. Apparently not.”

Mr. Jamison concluded that “Hopefully, Chairman Pai’s investment in economics at the FCC will lead Biden to be more evidence-based in decision-making than the last Obama FCC.”

We will see.