Broadband Regulation

Broadband Regulation


Roslyn Layton , Michael Horney | Aug 12, 2014
In a new study for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, Roslyn Layton and Michael Horney survey broadband in America and compare broadband costs around the world. They find that the United States is a global leader in broadband, as measured by the level of broadband-enabled economic activity, the number of Internet-based companies, the level of digital exports, and the level of Internet-enabled employment.
Daniel Lyons | Mar 18, 2014
Although intended to promote competition and innovation among Internet content providers,“net neutrality” rules reduce innovation by broadband service providers. Within limits, broadband providers may offer different plans that vary the quantity and quality of their service. But they usually cannot vary the service itself: broadband providers are generally required to offer customers access to all lawful Internet traffic, or none at all. This all-or-nothing broadband homogenization places America increasingly at odds with international markets, particularly with regard to mobile broadband. This paper examines the diverse array of wireless broadband products available worldwide, and uses these international innovations to illuminate the difficulties posed by net neutrality principles in the United States. Broadband access is merely one part of a much broader Internet ecosystem. Regulators’ focus on one narrow set of relationships in that ecosystem retards innovation and limits the ability of Americans to share in the global revolution currently taking place for mobile services.
Brent Skorup | May 28, 2013
This paper discusses the history of spectrum management and the commercial and federal uses of the radio frequencies. Several policy proposals for reclaiming federal spectrum are presented, along with recommendations for rationalizing spectrum management.
Eli Dourado | Nov 30, 2012
The possible extension of the telephone system’s “sender-pays” rule to the Internet is a contentious international political issue under consideration at the World Conference on International Telecommunication (WCIT). This paper examines whether higher international telephone rates support or impede telecom sector growth in the receiving country. It uses data on international telephone rates from the US from 1992-2010 to explain growth in foreign telecom sectors during the same period.
Daniel Lyons | Oct 09, 2012
This working paper evaluates the merits of data caps and other usage-based pricing strategies. Usage- based pricing shifts more network costs onto heavier Internet users. This can reduce costs for others and make broadband more accessible to low-income consumers. Usage-based pricing can also reduce network congestion. While data caps can be used to hurt competition, antitrust law teaches that regulators should intervene only if consumers suffer harm and cannot switch Internet providers. Otherwise, broadband providers should be free to experiment with different pricing strategies to compete for customers and fund future network upgrades.
Bruce M. Owen | May 24, 2012
Getting rid of obsolete regulation of the broadcast and distribution of video pro- gramming is essential to the efficient operation of a market that has the potential to greatly increase the benefits to consumers.

Testimony & Comments

Research Summaries & Toolkits

Expert Commentary

Jun 14, 2016

Today, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals released its much-anticipated decision upholding the legality of the Federal Communication Commission’s decision to regulate the Internet with common carrier telephone regulations, the so-called net neutrality rules.
Apr 26, 2016

How long will it be until the FCC looks to regulate online video platforms and applications like the rest of its portfolio? If the agency’s history is any guide, this outcome is unfortunately quite likely.
Mar 24, 2016

The success of online video illustrates that TV providers don’t require members of Congress and bureaucrats dictating how to give consumers affordable, quality TV — content creators have done that on their own.
Oct 20, 2015

As of Oct. 1, Comcast customers in a few small markets are now subject to metered data use. Households that use more than 300 gigabytes of data per month will have the choice to pay $10 for an extra 50 gigabytes or $30 per month for unlimited service. The cable giant joins the No. 4 player in the industry, Cox Communications, in offering tiers that vary in price depending on data use.
Feb 23, 2015

Brent Skorup debunks five myths surrounding net neutrality: the Internet has always been neutral; net neutrality regulations are the only way to promote an open Internet; net neutrality regulations improve broadband competition; all prioritized Internet services are harmful to users; net neutrality rules will make broadband cheaper and Internet services like Netflix faster.
Feb 05, 2015

FCC Commissioner Wheeler announced his intention to propose new “Net Neutrality” rules this month which will be voted on by the FCC on February 26. The Mercatus Center’s Technology Policy Program scholars have weighed in heavily on this issue, including Public Comment to the FCC, commentary in the press, and a study on mobile Net Neutrality, “Innovations in Mobile Broadband Pricing.” In addition to these resources, below are highlights from Mercatus scholars on Net Neutrality.



Jerry Ellig | May 29, 2015
The FCC is considering offering subsidies for broadband internet service for economically underpriviledged people. Jerry Ellig discusses the proposal on the Tim Farley Show on POTUS (Sirius XM)

Recent Events

This program will: provide an introduction to net neutrality and briefly explain the history of the debate, lay out the arguments for and against net neutrality, and discuss mechanisms to ensure the Internet remains a vibrantly free conduit and tool for ideas, innovation and economic growth.


Adam Thierer | Jan 31, 2011
A response to fans of the Internet who fear that dark days lie ahead unless steps are taken to "save the Net" from a variety of ills, especially the perceived end of "openness."

Media Clippings

Jerry Brito, Eli Dourado | Oct 10, 2012
Jerry Brito and Eli Dourado's WCITLeaks cited at The Hill…
Eli Dourado | Sep 25, 2012
Eli Dourado quoted discussing international telecommunications regulations.
Jerry Brito | Sep 07, 2012
Jerry Brito quoted at Ars Technica discussing broadband.
Jerry Brito, Eli Dourado | Aug 09, 2012
Jerry Brito and Eli Dourado cited for their creation of
Eli Dourado | Apr 24, 2012
Eli Dourado explains why ISP caps are economically sound policy.
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