Justice Department: Net neutrality regulations aren't necessary

Bush administration believes government regulators should be "highly skeptical" of Net neutrality regulations and instead rely on competition to protect consumers.

The Bush administration believes that government regulators should be "highly skeptical" of Net neutrality regulations and instead rely on competition to protect consumers.

The comments came in a public filing that the U.S. Department of Justice sent on Thursday to the Federal Communications Commission, warning against the adoption of extensive Net neutrality rules.

"However well-intentioned, regulatory restraints can inefficiently skew investment, delay innovation and diminish consumer welfare, and there is reason to believe that the kinds of broad marketplace restrictions proposed in the name of 'neutrality' would do just that, with respect to the Internet," the comments say.

(The comments aren't very long and are really worth reading yourself.)

This shouldn't really be a surprise. The Republican chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, Deborah Platt Majoras, was almost as skeptical last year, and a formal report from the entire FTC in June came up with the same no-new-laws-needed conclusion.

Public Knowledge, which supports giving the FCC more power to regulate broadband providers, critiqued the Justice Department's filing thusly: "Perhaps the (Justice Department) does not recall that there is very little in the way of market forces to protect consumers. Perhaps the department has forgotten that many consumers have little or no choice at all for their high-speed broadband services. A more vigorous antitrust analysis would have recognized there is a market failure and would have resulted in conditions on the AT&T takeover of BellSouth that would have benefited consumers and Internet companies."

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About the author

Declan McCullagh is the chief political correspondent for CNET. You can e-mail him or follow him on Twitter as declanm. Declan previously was a reporter for Time and the Washington bureau chief for Wired and wrote the Taking Liberties section and Other People's Money column for CBS News' Web site.

 

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