Using the tried and successful strategy of, creating big problems from small and resolvable issues, the Federal Government has moved forward using the FCC to declare the need to regulate the Internet, through the issue of net-neutrality. Once again promoting the belief that the Federal government is an impartial referee into all that is fair. The minions demand more control, and by golly, the Feds are not going to disappoint. After all who can suggest that neutrality is bad? #NetNeutrality
“A step toward reclassifying the internet as a public necessity is meant solely to improve people’s lives, not pad some corporate balance sheets.” ~ Chris Velazco Engadget
Chris shares his ideas on what this proposal means in the typical idealized style for those who believe government is more fair in such matters rather than private companies. On a broad brush glossy overview, like all others pushing for this, he makes reasonable points.
Someone needs to settle disputes over the information super highway – who receives data, and at what speed for those who don’t pay as much. The FCC hasn’t decided how much authority they will usurp. The Internet has been an open platform for ideas exchanged, data storage, messages passed, friends and enemies made, and a vast array of products & services sold. Innovation and improvement have rapidly evolved over the past 15 years. Somehow, we’ve managed just fine for more than 25 years without the Federal government.
“Internet host count 1988-2012 log scale” by Ke4roh – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
This push has been in the making for quite a while. The federal government previously and unsuccessfully tried ideas based on the “Fairness Doctrine” with a desire to eventually acquire a national sales tax through the vast revenue stream found on the Internet. States have pushed successfully for their own sales tax revenue when products are bought and sold in the same state over the net.
In the State of the Union address, President Obama said; “I intend to protect a free and open Internet, extend its reach to every classroom, and every community, and help folks build the fastest networks.” This is one of those speeches which sound like, a car in every garage and a chicken in every pot, while ignoring its ramifications.
The FCC has regulated the air waves since 1934. It charges a fee to every media it controls to cover the costs of regulation. A post-net-neutrality world will mean new fees and a step closer to control of the Internet revenue stream. The new regulations are supposedly 322 pages, but I have confidence this number will grow substantially as more regulations are passed. Although the FCC is directly responsible to Congress, President Obama has pushed it forward, knowing the Republicans in Congress won’t likely push back.
What can we expect in the near future? Everything will look the same for awhile. Back room dealing with lobbyists will still exist, after all these bureaucrats come from the very industry they are supposed to regulate. Chairman Wheeler worked as a venture capitalist and lobbyist for the cable and wireless industry, with positions including President of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) and CEO of the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA).
The general public doesn’t have a clue as to how the technology works, they just want their ESPN, Netflix, HBO, music, etc. The demand without understanding continues unabated. Soon the FCC will have to get into the middle of real thorny issues, such as, why does the country mostly have 3 cable providers? How much does the consumer have to pay for each of these, and why do I need to pay for 140+ channels I will never watch? Increased local competition for last mile services? Of course that’s not going to happen. No one knows, other than those who know history of government bureaucracy, which creates 10 or more problems for each one that it solves. It should prove to be a gold mine for lawyers to litigate.