Net Neutrality is a concept whereby the government assumes that content providers, Internet service providers and end users are all created equal. However, we know that is not the case.
For example, a neighbor might have a subscription to Netflix and is constantly streaming HD movies, hogging up all the shared bandwidth on the block. Under net neutrality, the heavy usage neighbor pays the same flat rate as others do because the Federal Government has imposed price controls on content providers and ISPs, claiming to be “leveling the playing field”. Why should the government be involved in setting the prices for what should be a free and open market?
If a customer doesn’t like the service they are getting or the price they are paying for Internet access, the customer has the choice to move to another provider. The customer should decide what level of service they require, with competition between ISPs for that customer’s business dictating pricing levels. Companies that impose unreasonable fees or block services will lose customers. Clearly, the Federal Government (at least under this administration), doesn’t really like a free market, due to the fact they have little or no control. However, if the Federal Government can set prices, in the name of ‘fairness and neutrality”, they will have total control. State capitalism marches on.
It’s not hard to imagine content providers and ISPs being given favorable treatment from a friendly Administration, based purely on a political agenda. For example, a content provider, like MSNBC, could be given favorable treatment over Fox News, resulting in smooth steaming of MSNBC, while providing a slower, choppy stream from Fox News (or vice versa). Once the camel’s nose is under the tent, there is no stopping it from coming in and trashing the place.
It seems unlikely the Federal government is only interested in “fairness and neutrality”. I submit, it’s really all about control. Progressives see net neutrality as just another form of “Social Justice”, or better yet, “Internet Justice”, if you will. They see Internet access as a “right”, like health insurance, housing, food and a job, rights not based on one’s humanity, but rights granted by the central government, with strings attached.
In the wake of a Federal Courts ruling that the FCC has no authority to regulate the Internet, FCC head Julius Genachowski is attempting to have the Internet reclassified as “Title II of the Telecommunications Act”. At that point, the Internet would be considered “telephony services” and open to regulation by the FCC. This is a blatant circumvention of the legislative branch and an affront to the constitution. It’s simply a naked power grab by the executive branch.
Event though the FCC clearly has no authority to regulate the Internet, plans are being made to do just that, with the next vote occurring on Dec. 21, 2010.
The commission is due to vote December 21 on “net neutrality” rules proposed by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. The rules, though they have not been made public other than as a brief outline, will include regulations for network management by Internet providers. The proposal will almost certainly pass on a party-line vote, with Democrats FCC Genachowski and Commissioners Michael Copps and Mignon Clyburn in favor and Republicans Attwell and Commissioner Robert McDowell opposed.
Baker said the planned vote is going ahead “against the will of the courts, which have told us that we lack authority to act. And Congress, which has asked us bluntly not to act…” link
Could Net Neutrality also give the FCC control over content on the Internet? Don’t think it couldn’t happen. It may seem far fetched at present but consider that if the U.S. Government doesn’t like what you publish on your website, you could be branded a terrorist (i.e. Julian Assange) and your website could be censored or banned.
The Federal Government simply needs to get its foot in the door. Of course, politicians will claim they are only interested in keeping the Internet “free and fair” but that is exactly the same argument they used when they instituted the so called “Fairness Doctrine” in order to regulate public airwaves. We all witnessed the disastrous consequences that came with the anti-constitutional, 1st amendment trampling legislation, more correctly referred to as “The Unfairness Doctrine”.
Some misguided politicians who support net neutrality may have good intentions but it’s often said; “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”. That being the case, it’s up to citizens to closely monitor the situation and not allow, what is currently a free and open Internet, to be nationalized, controlled and ultimately censored by an over reaching Federal Government.