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The Economics of 'Wireless Net Neutrality'

53 Pages Posted: 28 Apr 2007  

Robert W. Hahn

University of Oxford, Smith School; Georgetown University

Robert E. Litan

Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) - Council on Foreign Relations- Washington D.C.

Hal J. Singer

Economists Incorporated

Date Written: April 2007

Abstract

Network neutrality issues have been vigorously debated worldwide over the past few years. One major aim of network neutrality proponents is to prevent high-speed Internet service providers from charging content providers for priority delivery. Recently, proponents have turned their attention to the regulation of wireless networks, such as those for cellular phones, which provide increasing numbers of consumers access to Internet services. Some application providers have relied on a recent academic paper to support greater regulation of wireless operators. Although the proposals to regulate these networks use the phrase "net neutrality," the regulations they seek to impose on wireless operators have little in common with those being sought for other Internet service providers. In this article, we provide a framework for determining whether certain kinds of regulations should be imposed on the owners of wireless networks. We also consider the benefits and costs of specific proposals for the regulation of these networks. Our principal conclusion is that the costs of most of these proposals are likely to exceed the benefits.

Keywords: network neutrality, regulation, wireless networks

JEL Classification: H00

Suggested Citation

Hahn, Robert W. and Litan, Robert E. and Singer, Hal J., The Economics of 'Wireless Net Neutrality' (April 2007). AEI-Brookings Joint Center Working Paper No. RP07-10. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=983111 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.983111

Robert Hahn (Contact Author)

University of Oxford, Smith School ( email )

Oxford
United Kingdom

Georgetown University

Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy
Washington, DC 20057
United States

Robert Litan

Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) - Council on Foreign Relations- Washington D.C. ( email )

1777 F Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006
United States

Hal Singer

Economists Incorporated ( email )

2121 K Street N.W.
Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20037
United States
202-747-3520 (Phone)

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