01.31.2011 0

Net Neutrality Hits Capitol Hill

  • On: 02/17/2011 09:17:17
  • In: Uncategorized
  • By Adam Bitely

    On Wednesday, the House Communications and Internet Subcommittee held a hearing on the recently approved Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations for the Internet commonly referred to as “Net Neutrality.” These first ever Internet rules were passed by the FCC in a recent 3-2 vote of the FCC commissioners.

    Many have questioned whether the FCC has any authority to even propose such “Net Neutrality” regulations. One of those who have raised suspicions of the FCC’s new power is one of the FCC’s own — FCC Commissioner Meredith Baker.

    Commissioner Baker stated that the FCC has overstepped its authority with the “Net Neutrality” regulations and requested that Congress investigate whether or not the FCC had acted within its bounds. The response she received was sad, being told only that the Courts can decide that at some point in the future.

    Even more troubling was the fact that there was an utter lack of examples of the necessity for the Net Neutrality regulations. When FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski was asked to describe some of the reasons such regulations were needed, he could only list a few examples of supposed infractions from Internet Service Providers (ISP’s). And in response to the pittance of examples, FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell informed anyone listening that all of the infractions had been dealt with and resolved under current laws and without the aid of any “Net Neutrality” rules.

    In Congress, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced legislation that would prohibit the FCC from enforcing Net Neutrality. According to Rep. Blackburn in an interview with Americans for Limited Government, after the 1996 Telecommunications Act, “Congress took a hands-off approach towards the Internet, which allowed the Internet to flourish.”

    With the new “hands-on” approach that the FCC is taking, many fear that the Internet marketplace will be muddled by government intervention. Since its creation, the Internet has not fallen under the government regulation scope. Even Chairman Genachowski acknowledged in the hearing that the free and open Internet had led to unparalleled innovation.

    But if Genachowski truly believed his own statement, he would set his paranoia aside and allow the Internet to go in whichever direction willing users and consumers allowed it to.

    And that brings the issue back to what it’s really all about — regulating the marketplace. Net Neutrality is simply a set of regulations from the FCC aimed to make ISP’s act a certain way. As Rep. Blackburn stated, “It’s not so neutral, it’s the fairness doctrine for the Internet.”

    The regulations are solely based on the fear that ISP’s will block content that their customers try to access. To date, since enactment there has been relatively no instances of this occurring, proving the fact that these regulations stem from an unjustified fear from the Washington, D.C. regulating class.

    When you compare these regulations to what the “Big Regulators” in the European Union are doing, it does not even come close. And as FCC Commissioner Baker put it during the hearing, “even the French that regulate everything that moves feel that these regulations go too far.”

    Big Government regulators have stopped at nothing to intervene in every Americans life. If they successfully get their hands on the Internet, where presently free communication thrives, we are all in deep trouble. These regulators have proven that they are driven by unfounded fears — and if those fears are allowed to drive regulation, the Internet will be destroyed for all Americans.

    Adam Bitely is the Editor-in-Chief of NetRightDaily.com. You can follow Adam on Twitter at @AdamBitely.

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