Here we go again. Just got a Change.org petition supporting a new iteration of the old net neutrality. This legislation they are pushing (now with bipartisan support they say), is supposed to give everyone equal access to the Internet by prohibiting those nasty big corporate Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from giving preferential treatment, special rates or reserved high bandwidth access to big websites that use a lot of bandwidth like Netflix, Hulu, or Facebook.
Well, the problem is that if ISPs have to provide the same speeds for everyone and the same access, the websites we all use and love are likely to wind up running slower. So even if you get access to all that mythical super high speed Internet the evil corporations won't let you have, the sites you are trying to get faster access to, might very well run slower because the nasty evil corporations have to share resources, not fairly, but the same for all.
It's no way to run Internet services effectively. Imagine freeways without HOV lanes during the morning and afternoon rush hours. It's the same thing.
The poison pill in all of this (if a more inefficient Internet isn't toxic enough) is that little bit of lagniappe that gets stuck into every new law that Democrats and politicians want to pass. The new law would make the Internet a "public utility" regulated by the FCC.
Remember federally regulated public utilities? Remember the phone company back when a long distance call could cost you a dollar a minute and it took you two years, a trunk full of expensive equipment and an expensive car phone monthly payment? You know when there was only one choice for phone service - Ma Bell or in rare cases some podunk phone company if you happened to live in an area Bell wasn't interested in.
When are we going to learn our lesson? Making the Internet a public utility on the heels of Barak Obama's turning over significant control of the Internet over to an international organization, is really a bad idea. Here's why:
- Net Neutrality is a one-size-fits-all solution. It's like mandating that only one flavor of ice cream be sold. There's no room for people to pay for extra premium flavors or for ice cream parlors to develop ice cream sundaes or banana splits or anything new or better. Forcing a one-size-fits-all solution on the Internet and giving control to the federal government, keeps companies from testing new ideas or developing new business models and products that people want. It stifles innovation.
- Net neutrality is all about the government picking winners and losers while pretending to be just “leveling the playing field.” The government is notoriously poor at planning economies and making decisions about what works best for business.
- The technology behind the Internet moves to fast. The biggest trouble with the government regulating the Internet is one of speed. A contractor friend used to say that the government "...measures it with a micrometer, marks it with a piece of chalk and cuts it with an axe!" I would add that they have to do a multi-million dollar feasibility study first. By the time the government figures out how it all ought to be done, what it will take to do it, the solution is outdated and the technology the feds based their decision on is obsolete.
- The government can't write regulations that anticipate the way technology will change. Given it can take a bill three years to go through congress, it will likely be aimed in the wrong direction. It's take the FCC more than a decade and they still haven't passed net neutrality. Who believes the government can regulate the Wild West show that is the Internet with any success.
- Putting the government in charge of the web stifles competition. Since deregulation of the telephone business and electricity utilities created competition. When people could pay for cut-rate or premium services and choose from several different companies, the quality of service improved dramatically. Net Neutrality is going the opposite direction.
- Net Neutrality is being sold as a way to protect free speech. How is giving the government the power to control what is being said on the Internet going to protect free speech. It's from the government that we have to protect free speech.
We don't need the the government to meddle in something that is already working better than virtually any other sector of the economy. Even Barak Obama and the Democrats couldn't kill the Internet during our extended recession.
How about let's keep the revenuers from meddling with our very successful business tool. Vote no on Net Neutrality. It's a trap!
© 2017 by Tom King