On Thursday, February 27, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which is a group of appointed and unaccountable bureaucrats with the ability to make dictates that have the power of law had assumed control over the Internet here in the United States of America with a 3 to 2 vote. They dubbed this new evasive set of regulations with a harmless sounding name, Net Neutrality. After doing so, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler cracked this joke while gloating about this great accomplishment, “Today is a red letter day for Internet freedom…”
As the debutantes of Silicon Valley and the general public foolishly believe that the FCC will simply play an un-biased referee in a market that has never needed one, none of these people have actually read the over 300 pages of regulations that the FCC has just passed and are currently keeping sealed from the public. What little we do know had to be leaked by Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai. Plus we the public will not learn of the FCC’s new rules until “net-neutrality” becomes fully implemented. This is unless Chairman Tom Wheeler does a 180 and gives his blessing to release this latest stack of regulations to the public.
What really makes my head hurt are that the supporters of this net neutrality are the same convoluted fools that opposed the National Security Agency (NSA) collecting meta-data for its intelligence (spying) efforts. These are the same people who voluntarily give most if not all of their personal details to Facebook, and then bitch about how they’re using it to make money. Yet they’re willing to give the government the power to control their internet experience for a perceived problem.
What is Net Neutrality?
The general consensus on Net Neutrality are that ISPs (Internet Service Providers) are using their networks to provide certain online businesses better and faster access and speeds to connect and transmits content (video) to ISPs’ subscribers for a profit while either block or slowing down access to other online businesses. Net Neutrality supports rail that this would create “fast-lanes” on the Internet. Supposively this attempt at the sin of making profits will some how degrade subscribers’ experiences of such website as Netfilx and YouTube. Net neutrality will force ISPs to provide equal access to all online businesses to both their networks and subscribers.
Ironically, before President’s Obama’s push for “net neutrality”, the example supports cited, Netflix supposively being throttled down by Comcast, they hammered out an agreement to resolve their conflict. In other words, the market place solved the so-called problem that Silicon Valley, Progressives, and other morons demanded a Federal fix for. Plus, the effects on the consumer had been minimal, compared to what they will be if the FCC is allowed to have their way.
Net Neutrality is an Assault on Privet Property Rights
What are privet property rights? The first thing that comes to most people’s minds is real-estate. Privet property rights are your basic God-given rights to ownership of anything you have created, received, earned, or paid for. This means no government, no group, nor anyone else has the inherent right, authority, and/or privilege to take or steal your property regardless if your a multi-national corporation or just a working stiff.
I’ll make an analogy. You purchase a really expensive flat-panel big-screen TV. It has the highest resolution and the sharpest picture possible. Plus you own a sweet satellite package with more channels than is possible to ever watch. You invite friends and family over to watch sports and your favorite shows. Before you know it, everyone in town is coming by to watch television at your house. And you honestly don’t mind because you’re making a nice chunk of change selling snacks and drinks. After a while, your city council has voted on an ordinance to control your remote. Mind you, they never purchased your super-awsome flat-screen TV. But by force-of-law, they are assuming control over it and your TV. They are doing it in the name of granting the community equal access to your TV. You’re a piece of cr@p because you’ve been giving selected people an unfair amount access to your remote. Because everyone has the right to watch television on the biggest screen, with the highest resolution, and the sharpest picture, right? But you’re busting your ass at work on a daily basis to make the payments and to afford the monthly satellite fee. If it weren’t for you buying the stupid flat-screen, it wouldn’t even exist in the first place. Why the hell does the city council or anyone else get to tell you how to use your TV and what station to tune into?
In the case of net neutrality, it is assumed that everyone has an equal right to an ISP’s bandwidth. Who made the investment for all of the cable, servers, etc? If I’m Google, what right do I have to demand of Comcast to grant me greater access to their subscribers for YouTube? They don’t. It may seem unfair to you the user/customer because such a squeeze negatively effects your ability to kill time. But here’s the silver lining, everyone in the United States (for now) has had the ability to switch to a different ISP. There are multiple variants of internet service providers from cable to cell phone companies. A variety of plans for every budget. Simply put, competition is the answer.
I’ll give you a personal example. Back when I was attending community college, I invested in (wasted money on) some online classes. At the time, I was using Time Warner Cable as my ISP. But I had constant connection issues with them. My signal would constantly drop for long periods of time. I had Time Warner sender people by my house on several occasions to “fix” my connection. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when they told me that the line they strung around my house wasn’t able to carry their signal. Not only did it have to be replaced, but it would take them two weeks to have me wait all day for them to show up to replace it. Given my situation, this situation wasn’t going to cut it. I had spent hundreds of dollars for my classes and I had no intension of dropping them mid-session. So gave Time Warner back their cable modem, and signed up with an upstart known as Grande Communications. Magically their signal was strong enough to make it around my house. I lived happily ever after.
The Reality of Government Intervention
How does government regulation of the Internet make it either more open or free? It doesn’t. It’s not possible. The advocates of net neutrality do not realize that the FCC’s classification of the internet as a public utility will not stop at preventing corporate conglomerates from making their favorite websites slower. There are 317 pages of regulation to impose. This will not stop at net neutrality. If it did, they wouldn’t need 300+ pages for such simple regulations. You could likely print it all on one letter-sized page.
Given the fact that the FCC is applying Title II rules opens the door for the FCC and the U.S. Government to exert their influence over all aspects of the Internet here in the U.S. For companies like Google, Netflix, and small times like myself, FCC control will likely lead to all sorts of absurd regulations, fees, and eventual censorship. If I’m lucky, I’ll still have the freedom to move my website on to a server in a freer country, if one still exists. Government meddling will result in increased prices for service, less innovation, and fewer choices for the consumer.
What it Title II?
Title II of the Communications Act of 1934 is a series of regulations implemented back during the Great Depression. They were meant to control every aspect of electronic communications here in the U.S. There rules have been applied to telephone, radio, television, wire, telegraph, satellite, cable, etc. They were only updated in 1996. That was back when dialup modems were becoming common place in the United States. This was long before the Internet pervaded almost every aspect of daily life. Even if it were updated for our current day an age, Title II would still be an impediment to the evolution and progress of the Internet. Under Title II, the FCC would have to define what actions are “reasonable” and “within the public interest”. Worse yet, the Commission will have to define what “industry best standards and practices” are. These are generalities and can be flaked and molded depending on who’s currently serving in the FCC. Even if the FCC only applies certain portions of Title II to ISPs (which we have as of yet to confirm until the actual regulations are made public), as Commissioner Wheeler claims, what’s to stop them from later on further expanding those powers using other provisions of Title II? At this point, nothing.
Imagine if you were an investor or a small-time or major communications provider. What incentive would you have to invest in building more infrastructure or expanding the business to serve more communities (including those in rural areas) if you have a ton of pain-in-the-ass regulations that makes doing so cost-prohibitive? It would make more sense to just use the infrastructure that you currently have and increase rates on customers to constrain usage.
Think about it like this, under Title II it took over a 100 years to evolve from a Bell-owned crank-box on the wall that required telling an operator who you wanted to contact to the high-tech mobile phones that we all now enjoy. Without the burden of Title II regulation, the Internet went from a text-based terminal app that connected to a slow-ass dialup modem to 100 Mbps cable modem that wirelessly stream your connection to your 1/8 of an inch full-color touch screen tablet in over 10 years. Whatever technologies that would had happen will either not exist or take longer to go from conception to market because of Title II and the FCC. It has to be government compliant now…
My Personal Recommendations…
The Internet should had been left alone. There is no problem that can not be solved by a free marketplace. Necessity is the mother of invention. Regulation is the personification of the greed of politicians and totalitarians that seeks the power to control all aspects of people’s lives. Thanks to Barrack Obama, his progressive allies, voters who pay little attention to their politicians, and feckless Republicans that are too afraid to put up any serious fight, my country has had to suffer the indignity of having sector after sector of our economy being gobbled up by my government. This in turn converts citizens into hapless sheep.
The Constitution of the United States of America makes no provision for the regulation of electronic communication let alone the Internet. This is due the failure of the people within our system of government, which is in turn a failure of the people, who for generations empowered people who were morally unfit to act as the people’s civil servants. Until we the people lift up our standards, we will never fill our government with people who will meet those standards. For now we live in a post-constitutional republic.
By nature, I am not an optimist. But my hope is through education and informing the masses, freedom, liberty, and capitalism will make an eventual come back and once again uplift the world. If you personally oppose “net neutrality” and the reclassification of the Internet as a public utility, I would suggest calling your senator and/or representative in Washington, DC. Demand that they hold the FCC accountable for their over-reach and pass legislation preventing government over-sight of any kind over the Internet. Or pray for a miracle somewhere in the court system.
In the meantime, here’s an interview of Ajit Pai over on Reason.com:
Links of Interest:
- NewsMax: 7 Reasons Net Neutrality Is a Threat to Your Freedom
- The Blaze: Net Neutrality
- FCC.gov: Chairman Wheeler Proposes New Rules for Protecting the Open Internet
- Politico: Tom Wheeler tweaks net neutrality plan after Google push
- ZeroHedge: The Net Neutrality Debate Proves The Opinions Are Far From Informed
- Reason.com: FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai: Net Neutrality is a “Solution That Won’t Work to a Problem That Doesn’t Exist”
- Reason.com: 3 Charts That Show The FCC is Full of Malarkey on Net Neutrality and Title II
- Washington Post: Why Silicon Valley is the new revolving door for Obama staffers
- FCC.gov: ORAL DISSENTING STATEMENT OF COMMISSIONER AJIT PAI
- National Review: Like Obamacare? You Will Love ObamaNet
- Consumerist: Netflix Agrees To Pay Comcast To End Slowdown