12.21.2010 0

Net Neutrality Passes FCC Vote

Receiving 3 out of 5 votes, the FCC has passed Net Neutrality rules that will allow the Federal Government to regulate the internet. This is just a preview of coming attractions on how the Obama administration will govern through regulation in the coming years.

For a quick primer on what Net Neutrality is, check out this video:

So what does Net Neutrality mean?

In short, it means that service providers cannot block access to legal web sites. But there is no body of evidence that exists to indicate that internet service providers are blocking access to any legal web sites. This is merely an overreaction from the liberal left to a fear of what could happen. The FCC and Obama administration are simply grabbing power.

The problem with this policy is that Big Government regulators in Washington D.C. argue that the Internet needs regulation just in case service providers block content. As I said above, there is no evidence to support that service providers will do anything negative to the Internet. Most likely, the government regulators will find themselves guilty of screwing up the Internet through their regulations.

An IBD editorial today argues that the Internet does not need supervision from the government:

The Internet is in no need of supervision from the U.N. or Washington. It is an energetic, broadly accessible marketplace of ideas.

Expression is wide open on the Web, and commerce thrives there. It has evolved intelligently on its own — giving a master power to oversee it or to ensure a bureaucrat’s or politician’s sense of fairness is not only unnecessary, it’s counterproductive.

As Rod Beckstrom, president and CEO of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, said in September at the Vilnius meeting that the Internet works. It lets us communicate on an unprecedented scale, and its relative lack of regulation has made “it a fertile field for innovation and competition.”

The best thing for the U.N. and Washington to do is just stand back and let it flow.

A Republican commissioner at the FCC, Robert McDowell, wrote at the WSJ with some good points on what the FCC is doing:

For years, proponents of so-called “net neutrality” have been calling for strong regulation of broadband “on-ramps” to the Internet, like those provided by your local cable or phone companies. Rules are needed, the argument goes, to ensure that the Internet remains open and free, and to discourage broadband providers from thwarting consumer demand. That sounds good if you say it fast.

Nothing is broken that needs fixing, however. The Internet has been open and freedom-enhancing since it was spun off from a government research project in the early 1990s. Its nature as a diffuse and dynamic global network of networks defies top-down authority. Ample laws to protect consumers already exist. Furthermore, the Obama Justice Department and the European Commission both decided this year that net-neutrality regulation was unnecessary and might deter investment in next-generation Internet technology and infrastructure.

Analysts and broadband companies of all sizes have told the FCC that new rules are likely to have the perverse effect of inhibiting capital investment, deterring innovation, raising operating costs, and ultimately increasing consumer prices. Others maintain that the new rules will kill jobs. By moving forward with Internet rules anyway, the FCC is not living up to its promise of being “data driven” in its pursuit of mandates—i.e., listening to the needs of the market.

The United Nations is already calling for a global version of Net Neutrality, as we reported last week.

This is hardly the end of what these Big Government regulators plan to do. Even though nothing is in need of “regulation” on the Internet, the Big Government nanny’s in DC can’t help themselves from worrying. This is a bad step in the wrong direction, and as a result, the Internet and it’s users will be the victim of bad regulations.

If you need some more reasons why Net Neutrality is bad, watch this:

UPDATE: Speaker-designate John Boehner weighed in on the FCC’s decision to regulate the Internet:

“Today’s action by the FCC will hurt our economy, stifle private-sector job creation, and undermine the entrepreneurship and innovation of Internet-related American employers.  The American people are asking ‘Where are the jobs?’  They aren’t asking for yet another government takeover that imposes more job-killing federal regulations and puts bureaucrats in charge of the Internet.  Federal bureaucrats should not be in the business of regulating the Internet, and the new House majority will work to reverse this unnecessary and harmful federal government power grab next year.”

Copyright © 2008-2023 Americans for Limited Government