I haven’t written much about net neutrality because I haven’t understood it, but last night Hugh Hewitt explained it in a way that made sense (Hugh Hewitt, Salem Radio, 6-9 pm on the east coast).
The bottom line is simple–because the government has not yet regulated the internet, it has been free to grow and prosper. If the government is successful in its effort to treat the internet as simply another utility, we will all suffer–higher prices, censorship, crony capitalism, etc.
The Wall Street Journal posted an article yesterday explaining what is going on:
Last week Washington abandoned open innovation when the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission yielded to President Obama ’s demands and moved to regulate the freewheeling Internet under the same laws that applied to the Ma Bell monopoly. Unless these reactionary regulations are stopped, they spell the end of the permissionless innovation that built today’s Internet.
Until now, anyone could launch new websites, apps and mobile devices without having to lobby a regulator for permission. That was thanks to a Clinton-era bipartisan consensus that the Internet shouldn’t be treated as a public utility. Congress and the White House under both parties kept the FCC from applying the hoary regulations that micromanaged the phone system, which would have frozen innovation online.
Last week’s announcement from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler rejects 20 years of open innovation by submitting the Internet to Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. Once Mr. Wheeler and the commission’s Democratic majority vote this month to apply Title II, the regulations will give them staggering control. Any Internet “charges” and “practices” that the bureaucrats find “unjust or unreasonable is declared to be unlawful.”
So what would ‘net neutrality’ mean to you and me? It could mean regulators micromanaging Google searches, regulating blog content (I take that one personally), the government overseeing Facebook, etc. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?
There is a way to stop this. As soon as the Republicans pass a budget, they can begin working on appropriations. They have the power to block the Net Neutrality power grab in the appropriations process. If you want to be part of stopping this nightmare, I suggest you call your Representative and Senator and recommend a speedy passage of the budget and appropriations.