Net Neutrality and Rent-Seeking

Here is a letter I sent recently to The Wall Street Journal:

September 22, 2009

Editor, The Wall Street Journal
200 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10281

To the Editor:

Your article “Bad News for Broadband” (editorial, Sept. 22) hints at, but does not make, a key point: net neutrality proposals are driving a wedge between service providers like AT&T and content providers like Google.

Strange, is it not? Their interests are actually closely aligned. If AT&T upgrades its network, Google benefits from the increased bandwidth. If Google improves its products, AT&T benefits from increased demand for broadband.

Net neutrality proposals give companies the incentive to seek rents at each other’s expense when they could be benefiting from each other’s innovations instead. This must be music to the ears of lobbyists, but how sad for consumers.

Ryan Young
Fellow in Regulatory Studies
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Washington, D.C.

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