The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Moira Vahey, Free Press, (202) 265-1490 x31

Free Press Debunks Claims about Net Neutrality and Investment

New report shows Net Neutrality will likely increase investment and competition online


A new report
by Free Press provides overwhelming evidence, despite the claims of
companies like AT&T, that Network Neutrality will not harm network
investment. On the contrary, the report shows that open Internet rules
will likely have a positive impact on investment in both the network
and applications markets.

"Big phone and cable companies have been crying wolf about Net Neutrality and investment," said S. Derek Turner, research director at Free Press and author of Finding the Bottom Line: The Truth about Network Neutrality and Investment.

"But the data suggest that if Net Neutrality has any impact on
network investment, it will almost certainly be positive. And there is
no doubt that without Net Neutrality, investment in the broader
Internet applications and content markets will be substantially

Read the report here:

"Claims that Net Neutrality will hurt investment are an attempt to
distract attention from efforts by companies like AT&T and Comcast
to use their market power to thwart competition and reduce investment,"
Turner said. "Net Neutrality is an important protection needed to
prevent abuses of market power that will harm our economy in the long

Finding the Bottom Line looks at historical trends and
investment data from the telecommunications sector to demonstrate the
impact of Net Neutrality and regulation on growth and investment. The
report's findings include:

A variety of factors drive investment, ranging from competition to
supply costs. In the telecom sector, light regulation like Net
Neutrality will play only a minor role in actual investment decisions.

  • Net Neutrality will likely encourage increased investment in
    network infrastructure and spur even higher levels of investment in the
    applications and content sector -- the key driver of growth in the
    Internet access market.
  • AT&T's overall gross investment increased by
    more than any other Internet service provider's in America during the
    two years that it was required by the FCC to operate a neutral network
    under merger conditions. During this period of mandated Net Neutrality,
    AT&T's investment in its wireline network increased from 13 percent
    of revenue to 20 percent of revenue, well above the average of all
    other Internet service providers.
  • While claiming Net Neutrality will deter investment,
    most U.S. Internet service providers are currently disinvesting in
    their networks by depleting more in assets than they spend investing
    and maintaining their networks. AT&T, while operating under Net
    Neutrality merger conditions, was one exception to this trend.
  • Incumbent phone company investment rose dramatically
    during the years following regulations created by the 1996
    Telecommunications Act, but declined after the FCC eliminated most of
    these rules.

"Policymakers need to look at the data and judge the facts for
themselves," Turner said. "Net Neutrality will protect consumers and
provide certainty to investors. Once this basic protection is secured,
we must move on to more challenging issues facing the broadband market
-- like bridging the digital divide and promoting competition."

Read Finding the Bottom Line: The Truth about Network Neutrality and Investment at

Free Press was created to give people a voice in the crucial decisions that shape our media. We believe that positive social change, racial justice and meaningful engagement in public life require equitable access to technology, diverse and independent ownership of media platforms, and journalism that holds leaders accountable and tells people what's actually happening in their communities.

(202) 265-1490