Yeah, Right – The FCC’s Net Neutrality Order Doesn’t Seek Internet’s Takeover

by Mike Wendy on January 31, 2011

I love this line.  Says Art Brodsky of Public Knowledge, in a recent Huffington Post blog:

“…The most fundamental misunderstanding, of course, is that the FCC wants to take over the Internet. It doesn’t. The talking point, while appropriately inflammatory for the target audience, is simply wrong. There is no “takeover” of the Internet. A “takeover” raises the spectre of government control of content, directing which companies, sites and services can operate and which can’t. Nothing like that is even remotely happening, and it is irresponsible to suggest that it is. It’s just the opposite…”

The FCC’s Net Neutrality Order doesn’t seek to control the Internet? C’mon, Art. The very first paragraph of the Order puts paid to your assertion:

“Today the Commission takes an important step to preserve the Internet as an open platform for innovation­, investment­, job creation, economic growth, competitio­n, and free expression­. To provide greater clarity and certainty regarding the continued freedom and openness of the Internet, we adopt three basic rules…”

Frank Pasquale - Advocate for a Federal Search Commission

That it will be contained at just network providers is bunk.  Guys like Frank Pasquale have been chomping at the bit for this Order because he / they see it as a beachhead to establish a Federal Search Commission for “near monopolist­s” like Google.  For his ilk, the Internet is just too important to be run in a “non-transparent manner,” without government regulators surveying “black box” practices of key service providers; Net Neutrality regulations are a good start down that road.

And, what about the new OVD regulation­? As Susan Crawford writes, in the Comcast Order the FCC got pretty, well, creative.   Notes Crawford:

“…[A] big lawyerly moment happens on p.4: the creation of the new acronym for the imagined market on which the agencies have focused so much attention. Right there, FCC says that a group it calls “online video distributo­rs,” or “OVDs,” have concerns.” (Emphasis added)

Public Knowledge and their friends were thick as thieves at the FCC in helping to create the new category / the new OVD regulation.  And that won’t be used to regulate the Internet beyond simply hamstringing Comcast? C’mon.

There’s nothing to misunderstand about it.  Art knows exactly what the Order is.  It’s the proverbial camel’s nose under the tent.  Not only does it handcuff network providers, it will work to impose all manner of regulation on the remainder of the Internet ecosystem – on those who provide / manufacture content, applications, services, devices and who knows what else…

…(the latter being the precise intent of the Order – who knows what else, only that it can be if need be by a government regulator).

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