Review of Industrial Organization

, Volume 50, Issue 4, pp 487–507 | Cite as

The Effect of Regulation on Broadband Markets: Evaluating the Empirical Evidence in the FCC’s 2015 “Open Internet” Order

  • Thomas W. HazlettEmail author
  • Joshua D. Wright


In 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) imposed common carriage regulation—so-called Title II requirements—on previously unregulated broadband Internet service providers. The regime shift was premised on the FCC’s findings that such rules had demonstrably yielded economic gains. This paper evaluates the FCC’s empirical arguments and finds them uncompelling. Adjustments for inflation or general economic trends eliminate the effects cited by the FCC. Moreover, contrary to the Commission’s assessment, mobile services and broadband markets have shown notable growth in response to deregulatory events that reduce Title II requirements.


Network neutrality Vertical foreclosure Broadband regulation 



The authors thank Scott Wallsten and Lawrence J. White for alert suggestions and helpful comments. Ben Schwall and Bernard Archbold provided excellent research assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.John E. Walker Department of EconomicsClemson UniversityClemsonUSA
  2. 2.Antonin Scalia Law SchoolGeorge Mason UniversityArlingtonUSA

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