This "big idea"/"best practice" actually originated with the FCC's own Chairman. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski stated at the Congressional hearing on Thursday that the FCC should allow competition to solve problems whenever possible, and regulate only if there is market failure.
The FCC should, for example, regulate the pricing of "special access" lines, because the ILECs are using high prices for these lines to cripple competition and drive up prices to consumers. This market has failed and there is no simple way to create competition (certainly not in the timeframe in which we hope that broadband will be ubiquitous); therefore regulation is appropriate.
By the same principle, should not regulate ISPs' network management practices because they are not a problem. No US carrier dares to censor the Internet, because consumers have many alternatives. Competitive markets would quickly remedy any practice which consumers considered to be a problem.
Regulating only where necessary insures that consumers can benefit from innovation (not only technological innovation but also innovative business models) and that practices which are not good for consumers are not "locked in" by regulation.
The FCC's regulatory "muscle" should not be wasted on areas where there is no actual problem, despite the cries of Washington's corporate lobbyists who hope to give their companies an advantage via regulations that favor them. The FCC's authority and energy must be focused on real problems, including the market failures in "special access" and spectrum.
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