In either case, new costs to the consumer would be substantial. Net neutrality could impose anywhere from $10 to as much as $55 each month -- on top of an average broadband access charge of $30. If consumers were unwilling or unable to incur such costs, net neutrality could, ironically, reduce broadband penetration.

Net neutrality acts like a tax on the Internet. It imposes overheads on network operators that in turn will decrease investment and provide less opportunity, not only for the operators, but for an economy that has been built to depend on those networks.

Evidence in the Stratecast study supports the notion that net neutrality is much more complex than simply encouraging a level playing field. If regulations must be adopted, a narrow interpretation imposing the lightest load on operators would minimize the financial impact on both consumers and the U.S. economy.

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