Antecedents to Net Neutrality

4 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2007


The contemporary notion of "Internet neutrality" is a version of the age-old regulatory policy of establishing a "common carrier." Net neutrality policies could only be implemented through detailed price regulation, an approach that has generally failed in the past to improve consumer welfare relative to what might have been expected under an unregulated monopoly. Worse, regulatory agencies often settle into a well-established pattern of subservience to politically influential economic interests. Consumers, would-be entrants, and innovators are not likely to be among those influential groups. History thus counsels against adoption of most versions of net neutrality

Keywords: net neutrality, bruce owen, regulatory history, nondiscriminatory, quality of service, monopoly, internet, common carrier, policy, economic interests, legislation, vertical integration

JEL Classification: D23, D42, K23, L41, L42, L43, L44

Suggested Citation

Owen, Bruce M., Antecedents to Net Neutrality. Regulation, Vol. 30, No. 3, Fall 2007, Available at SSRN:

Bruce M. Owen (Contact Author)

Stanford University ( email )

366 Galvez Street
Stanford, CA 94305-6015
United States


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