WASHINGTON (April 1, 2015) – The R Street Institute expresses deep concern about this morning’s announcement by the Federal Communications Commission that it would expand its recently proposed net-neutrality rules to tennis, basketball and other sports-related broadcasts.

The proposed changes in net regulation from the FCC’s newly created Office of Mesh Guidelines (OMG) came as a surprise to many observers.

“This overreaching regulation will have profoundly negative effects on competition. The Davis Cup and Wimbledon will never be the same,” said R Street President Eli Lehrer, adding that the new rules likely would also undercut attendance at Washington Wizards games.

“Before the OMG stepped in with still more net-neutrality rules, no one even thought it possible for Wizards attendance to dip any lower,” Lehrer added.

Under the new rules, OMG regulators at tennis matches will regularly pull the nets lower to ensure balls reach the other side of the court. On basketball courts, the expanded rules will require lowering nets to five feet and expanding their diameter to five feet as well, to ensure that dominant players’ natural height or shooting ability doesn’t undermine the game’s fairness.

“This mandatory increase in bandwidth will do no harm to incumbent players, while lowering barriers to entry for new players,” an OMG spokesperson said. “Access to the courts long has been a cherished American tradition and we view it a basic human right.”

Other R Street scholars were similarly critical of the new rules.

“The commission thinks it has come up with a final solution, but in practice, it will trigger total war over the Internet. April 1, 2015 is a date that will live in online infamy,” said Mike Godwin, Director of the institute’s Center for the Study of National Socialism. “This kind of anticompetitive intervention is like something former Labor Secretary Robert Reich might have recommended in his book ‘Beyond Outrage,’ which is the third Reich book I’ve read.”

“These new rules will lead to massive regulatory confusion,” Godwin added. “The whole issue could have been avoided if OMG staff had been more thorough when they looked up the meaning of the word ‘server.'”

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