When considering whether wireless services should be regulated by the FCC, the most important point to drive home is that all wireless traffic is not created equal. Some consumers are downloading buckets full of content while others are just checking email. Consumers are using the Internet in very different ways and for very different purposes. However, the one factor that remains constant is that there is a limited amount of spectrum that can be used to provide services to consumers. As Steve Largent, CEO and President of CTIA points out in a recent opinion editorial, “Don’t erect tollbooths on the information superhighway.” In other words, regulating the wireless industry places stifling regulatory burdens on providers, making it very challenging to deliver the services consumers want at a price they can afford.
Net neutrality will essentially eradicate wireless companies abilities to manage traffic in a way that will ensure that their consumers are receiving quality service while not interfering with the delivery of other providers’ services. This service, better known as network management, is indispensable to the growth of the wireless industry and is at risk of being eliminated under the FCC’s new proposed rules for net neutrality. Mr. Largent is correct in his assessment that the “U.S. market is driving worldwide wireless innovation, but that can change in a heartbeat.” Given the economic slump we are in, this is one industry we cannot afford to lose.