Restoring The Free Market To The Internet

In 2015, rules were put in place to prevent the free market from working in the Internet. Under these rules, Internet service providers, such as AT&T, Verizon and Comcast as well as smaller Internet service providers, were prohibited from blocking, slowing access to or charging more (priority pricing) for fast delivery of content above some specified threshold of high bandwidth usage.

An article in Frontpage Magazine posted today explains how the repeal of those rules will affect the Internet:

High-speed delivery of Internet services will no longer be heavily regulated on par with a common carrier utility monopoly service. However, the Internet service providers will have to disclose to the FCC changes to their access policies, which can consider any alleged abuses on a case by case basis. The Federal Trade Commission, which shares antitrust enforcement responsibility with the Department of Justice, will be tasked to take action against any anti-competitive behavior.

We are pretty much returning to what the Internet was before 2015. It needs to be considered in discussing this change that the Apple iphone could not have been released under the net neutrality rules–the original monopoly given to one service provider (which gave Apple a chance to work out the bugs) would have been illegal.

The article further explains:

The left would have us believe that the battle over “net neutrality” is between greedy, monopolistic, multibillion dollar Internet service companies and John Q. Public. This is the left’s typical class warfare rhetoric, helped along ironically by multibillion dollar content providers such as Netflix, Google and Facebook that hide behind slogans such as “net neutrality” and “open and free Internet” to obscure their own economic self-interest. Companies the size of Netflix, Google, Facebook, and the new Disney company that may emerge if its purchase of content assets from 21st Century Fox is approved by antitrust officials do not need FCC utility-style regulatory protection from Internet service providers. The FCC should not have placed itself in the position of picking industry sector winners and losers or coming down on the side of content providers, some of whom such as Facebook and Google have substantial market power of their own that allows them to censor content they believe is too controversial.

Moreover, “net neutrality” may be a nice slogan, but it does not reflect the reality of Internet usage. To understand why this is so requires a brief technology discussion.

Follow the link to the article to read the technical discussion–it is way over my head. Meanwhile, the political left never met a  government regulation it didn’t love!

The article concludes:

The economics of supply and demand should be permitted to play out under free market conditions. Internet service providers, just like the large content providers, are not monopoly utilities that require utility-style regulation. That said, there will need to be antitrust enforcement by the Federal Trade Commission to prevent anti-competitive abuses, such as an Internet service providers favoring their own affiliated content providers in terms of quality of service, ease of customer access, or discriminatory pricing. The FCC’s repeal of the overly burdensome “net neutrality” rules in no way undermines the ability of the FCC or the Federal Trade Commission to step in and address any abuses that may arise.

The left detests the free market, whether in the context of the Internet or virtually any other segment of the economy. Government knows best, leftists believe. Fortunately, elections have consequences and President Trump put in place at the FCC someone who understands the benefits of the free market. Under Chairman Ajit Pai’s leadership, the FCC removed the dead weight of intrusive regulation on Internet innovation and investment in infrastructure. It also restored the market freedom under which the Internet has thrived.

When Political Discourse Goes Insane

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article about the move to end net neutrality. The first thing to understand is that net neutrality is not what it sounds like it should be. There are valid arguments to be made both for and against net neutrality. That debate would be welcome and informative–the current debate is useless.

The article reports:

Net neutrality activists left signs at Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai’s house Saturday, telling his children that their father was an “evil” man who “murdered” democracy.

The cardboard signs list Pai’s children by name, telling them that “you don’t have to be evil.” Pai’s leadership of the FCC has been fraught with criticism due to his rejection of net neutrality policies advocated by former President Barack Obama’s administration. The FCC announced last week that it plans to role back net neutrality rules, triggering protests outside the Pai family’s home for the second time this year.

Private homes need to be off limits for protests. The man’s children do not need to be afraid because their father is making a change to Internet regulations.

The article explains part of the argument to end the regulation:

Obama-era neutrality rules would have legally prevented internet service providers (ISPs) such as Comcast from discriminating against certain types of traffic. These regulations would effectively prevent ISPs from providing faster internet to higher-paying customers.

For an extended period of time, the FCC hosted an online forum for the public to submit comments and thoughts on net neutrality rules. While the whole process was an attempt at bureaucratic democracy, it ended up as sort of a mess due to the appearance of hundreds of thousands of fake posts from all parts of the world, including so many duplicates, and thus of highly unlikely authenticity. 

When in doubt, the free market is always the better idea.

Common Sense From The Wall Street Journal

The Daily Caller is reporting today that The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board supports the repeal of the “net neutrality” rules that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) put into effect in 2015. I am the first person to admit that I do not understand the concept of net neutrality, but generally anything that interferes with the free market is not a good idea.

The article reports the correct way to deal with this issue:

The National Review also endorsed Pai’s (Ajit Pai, Chairman of the FCC) decision, specifically saying that Congress, not an independent federal agency, should consider rules through legislation to help solve any potential issues.

“If Congress wants net neutrality, then Congress can pass a law and let the FCC enforce it. It isn’t up to the FCC to create sweeping new policy on its own,” the editorial board for the National Review wrote Wednesday. “That kind of lawlessness ran rampant in the Obama administration, and the Trump administration is undertaking important work in undoing it, from the FCC to the EPA.”

We need to get to the point where Congress (elected by the people) makes the laws. Unelected officials should not be making laws.

Less Government Is Always Better Than More Government

Investors.com posted an article yesterday about the move to adopt ‘net neutrality.’

The article reports:

The Federal Communications Commission, which wants to regulate the Internet heavily to make it more “open,” is refusing to let the public see its proposed rules before the commissioners vote on them in two weeks.

Perhaps it’s because, while talking publicly in reassuring tones about how the FCC merely wants to secure “net neutrality,” it’s planning to do much, much more.

That, at least, is what Ajit Pai, one of the FCC’s two Republican commissioners, is claiming.

He says FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has a “secret plan to regulate the Internet” that “opens the door to billions of dollars in new taxes” on broadband services.

“I have studied the 332-page plan in detail, and it is worse than I imagined,” he said, adding that “the public has a right to know what its government is doing, particularly when it comes to something as important as Internet regulation.”

Whether you support the move to regulate the internet or not, it is telling that the FCC is unwilling to release the details of what they plan to do in advance. This sounds like ObamaCare all over again–they have to pass the bill so that we can find out what is in it.

 

Net Neutrality

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.

Something To Be Aware Of On Your Computer

My husband wrote this up for me because I have no idea exactly what it is about. I did, however, go to DCWG.org to make sure my computer was ok.

This is the story:

Over a year ago, the FBI discovered malicious software that redirected over a half-million computers through a specific DNS server. (A DNS server is used to resolve the meaning of web addresses you type into your browser.)

This malicious server captured information and began to use your computer without your knowledge. Rather than knocking many computers off the internet, the FBI substituted a “Clean” DNS server for the malicious server. Beginning Monday July 9, the FBI will shutdown the “Clean” server and anyone still infected will suddenly not be able to get to the internet.

To fix the problem the person will probably need to work with their internet provider to enter the correct DNS information.

To avoid the problem many places have be publicizing a website that will check your current DNS location.

Go to go to www.dns-ok.us or www.dcwg.org – they have quick check links to assure you are free of this malware.

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