Network Neutrality Disclosures: More and Less Information
Georgetown University Law Center
February 13, 2012
Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society, Forthcoming
In December 2010, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) adopted a new Network Neutrality Order that requires broadband providers to publicly disclose practices that might violate Network Neutrality. This Article argues that the Commission must carefully design disclosure rules in order to achieve results that justify the investment of resources in creating, distributing, and consuming information about Network Neutrality practices. In Part I, I provide a brief sketch of the history of disclosure as a Network Neutrality regulation. Disclosure has been a part of the policy debate from its inception and figures prominently in the 2010 Open Internet Order. Though the Order’s future remains uncertain, disclosure regulation in some form is likely to survive a successful attempt at judicial or congressional repeal of the FCC action. In Part II, I outline the potential benefits of mandated disclosure: enhanced competition in the market for broadband services; increased democratic participation in Network Neutrality regulation; improved performance of both regulators and providers; and practical advantages that make disclosure easier to design and enact than other regulatory options. Part III assesses the many ways that mandated disclosure could fail. Finally, I suggest a targeted system that manages those risks by directing more information to regulators, broadband providers, and other repeat players at the FCC while reducing the informational burden on consumers. Instead of more information, I argue that the Commission should focus on giving consumers better advice.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 30Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: February 14, 2012
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