Welcome to those of you who found your way here via Brad DeLong’s very kind link to my earlier post linking to the Weiser-Atkinson “third way” paper.
Some comments in response to the comments on Brad’s post: I am as skeptical of the FCC’s ability to engage in correct antitrust enforcement as anyone (probably more so, actually). My read of Weiser-Atkinson is that they are skeptical too, so not as Polly-anna-ish as the comments suggest. If I may be a little unkind, reading through to the last five pages of their paper would have made that apparent.
One option that Weiser-Atkinson suggest is invoking the consumer protection/antitrust jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission as an alternative to FCC enforcement. I prefer a light-handed approach to regulation, and I agree with Weiser and Atkinson that ex ante preemptive regulation typically deters innovation, which is a large cost to pay to get so-called “consumer protection” in return. The FTC approach is more (not perfectly, but more) consistent with that perspective than the FCC approach.
If this antitrust perspective is the better way to go, and I think it is, and if the FCC can’t be trusted to do it, then they shouldn’t have jurisdiction. It’s not clear that they want it, either, given how broadband has been classified. Cool, that may minimize the bureaucratic wailing and gnashing of teeth if the FTC is brought in to the story.