More important, the researchers found that the incentive for broadband service providers to expand and upgrade their service actually declines if net neutrality ends. Improving the infrastructure reduces the need for online content providers to pay for preferential treatment, Bandyopadhyay said.
“The whole purpose of charging for preferential treatment to content providers is that one content provider gains some edge over the other,” he said. “But when the capacity is expanded, this advantage becomes negligible.”
He gave the analogy of the expansion of a two-lane highway where drivers willing to pay a toll to subsidize road improvements are rewarded with exclusive use of a faster lane.
“If the road is upgraded from two to four lanes, with one express lane, these drivers might say ‘Three lanes are good enough for me. I don’t want to have to pay a toll any longer,’” he said. “So the desire to pay a toll when the road is expanded gets lesser.”
The experience of other countries also suggests that better service – up to three times faster – results when there is greater competition, Cheng said.
“In Japan and Korea, where there is net neutrality and much greater competition among broadband providers than in the United States, there are also higher broadband speeds,” he said.”