Geoffrey Manne Joins Panel Discussion Sponsored by PEN America on Net Neutrality
On Tuesday, October 14, Geoffrey Manne appeared on a panel discussion sponsored by PEN America, a non-profit group that defends the freedom of writers and editors. Mr. Manne appeared alongside noted ‘Net Neutrality’ proponent Tim Wu, and argued that common carrier regulation will impede innovation:
Proponents of net neutrality argue that the relatively level playing field of the Internet has been a major factor in its success and growth, providing a platform for new companies to take off. They argue that stronger regulation is necessary to control what Mr. Wu described as monopolistic pricing of broadband access. “Most of us are being overcharged, paying first world prices for third world services,” Mr. Sifry said.
“I definitely take issue with the characterization of much of this,” said Mr. Manne. The parties that advocate for more regulation of carriers include rich and powerful Internet companies, he said, arguing “there is no reason to think they are advocates for the little guy. The problem with common carrier regulation is that it locks the Internet into a kind of status quo. It will actually impede innovation.”
A non-neutral Internet favors the rise of new pricing models, according to Mr. Manne. Already, there are some cases in which mobile carriers wave data charges when customers use their phones to access particular apps, panelists noted. In poor areas, that may be better than no access at all, according to Mr. Manne. “I would choose a closed system over no system. That may be the choice,” he said.