Transparency and Broadband Internet Service Providers

Gerald R. Faulhaber


Broadband Internet Service Providers have been the subject of recent debate about the future of the Internet, with transparency being of particular concern: Are broadband ISPs (and other Internet firms) sufficiently transparent in their service offerings to customers? In this paper, I develop four principles of transparency: 1) disclose all information relevant to customer choice, 2) to which customers have easy access, 3) clearly and simply, and 4) in a way that is verifiable. I draw on experience in other industries and other regulators to illustrate these points, and I review the current state of transparency of Internet firms, including broadband ISPs, as well as the challenges they face. The point of this paper is not to recommend specific disclosure practices, but rather, to provide a framework for policy analysis.

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