Consumer fears

Opponents of Net Neutrality argue that regulating the Internet prevents practices that would benefit consumers. As David Farber wrote, "Blocking premium pricing in the name of neutrality might have the unintended effect of blocking the premium services from which customers would benefit." By mandating Net Neutrality, all Internet traffic is treated equally regardless of the content's demand or bandwidth. This means that hospitals would not be able to choose an ISP that favor traffic from a patient's heart monitor over traffic of file transfers. Additionally, highly congested content providers, like YouTube, would be prohibited from paying for a faster connection to support their substantial amounts of data.

In order to alleviate traffic congestion, many Net Neutrality opponents favor a tiered Internet. They believe that Internet Service Providers should be able to charge content providers differently for different types of traffic. For example, video applications, which send massive amounts of data, would be in their own high-speed tier. This way, consumers will be able to stream video and share files at a faster rate than they would without any form of traffic discrimination. Additionally, providers would be able to protect consumers by completely restricting harmful traffic.

Though some proponents, like Lessig, support "consumer tiering", other opponents find flaws in this solution. With this type of tiering, consumers can pay for high-speed video content as long as the tier is available to all video providers. Opponents argue that such a system would be too complicated to regulate. For one, it is unclear how to define a tier and how to decide which applications would be allowed in it. Opponents like Robert hahn and Scott Wallsten believe it is more pragmatic and economical to allow content providers to individually pay for what they need.

Innovation and Incentives

According to Robert Kahn, the co-inventor of Internet Protocol, Net Neutrality inhibits innovation. Kahn stated, "If the goal is to encourage people to build new capabilities, then the party that takes the lead is probably only going to have it on their net to start with and it's not going to be on anyone else's net. You want to incentivize people to innovate, and they're going to innovate on their own nets or a few other nets."

In order to encourage innovation, opponents believe that proper incentives should be provided. Currently, some service providers complain that content providers that use large amounts of bandwidth are freeloading off of their high-speed lines. After spending a fortune on research and development to optimize their network lines, they believe they deserve to be compensated for their efforts. Without such incentives, service providers do not have as much incentive to improve their products. Opponents also argue that by allowing ISPs to charge for varied levels of service, competition between ISPs would increase. While each provider will work hard to improve their product for their consumers, they will also be working to compete with other equally-incentivized providers.

Alternative Solutions

Many opponents, like Farber and Katz, recognize that Net Neutrality supporters have a legitimate fear of service providers obtaining monopoly power without any regulations. While they admit that there should be policies to prevent such anti-competitive actions, they believe that Net Neutrality is the wrong way to approach the problem. Instead, they feel that Net Neutrality would prevent experimentation of better policies. By implementing anti-trust laws, the government could allow providers to experiment with various methods of pricing. Since the Internet is constantly changing and growing, it is highly likely that the ideal way to manage it is unknown. Net Neutrality discourages experimentation of new, and possibly better, pricing models.