Statement for House Hearing on Net Neutrality Regulations

by Mike Wendy on March 9, 2011

The following statement – for today’s Communications and Technology Subcommittee Hearing on the FCC’s Internet Rules – may be attributed to Mike Wendy, Director of MediaFreedom.org:

Alexandria, VA, March 9, 2011 – Today’s hearing to discuss the FCC’s new Net Neutrality regulations is good for America to hear.  The controversial regulations have come under intense scrutiny for good reason.  Well, many, that is:

1.  The FCC lacks express Congressional authority to regulate the Internet, as envisaged by the new regulations.

2.  Statements by the crafters of the regulations suggest that the rules are merely a baseline from which to accrete more regulatory heft, which will ultimately hobble private investment and innovation that underlies the Internet’s growth and vibrance.

3.  The market works, and the harms that the FCC has rested its assumptions upon do not exist in fact; nor are they likely to occur with the advance of technology, transparency tools, industry best practices, and marketplace discipline.

4.  Net Neutrality exists de facto, and remains a far more flexible tool to serve the public interest than the politically motivated actions of the FCC, as exemplified by the Commission’s wanton act on December 21st.

It is Congress’ prerogative and right to express its disapproval when the agencies it oversees go rogue.  To suggest that the opposite is acceptable – that is, that the FCC, abetted by well-healed “consumer” lobbyists, can whip up an imagined threat, self-create “authority,” and then use that and other regulatory leverage to strong-arm agreement from its captured supplicants – is repugnant to Democracy.

Government by consent decree, which is essentially what the FCC’s Net Neutrality regulations represent, is a betrayal of the public interest.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Ldtowers March 9, 2011 at 11:09 pm

This is absolute BS. The internet is basically a public infrastructure. Being an info tech professional i can tell you that the private sector absolutely failed previously at universal networking standards. Private interests are trying to balkanize and privatize it for profits.

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Heaven July 24, 2011 at 9:30 pm

That’s not just logic. That’s really seinbsle.

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Youreanidiet March 10, 2011 at 12:25 am

Any idiot can make up fantasy scenarios from a proposed bill or regulation. While we’re at it, if the net neutrality is enacted, there’s a 10% chance a meteor might hit Earth! Let’s stop it and save the planet!

Let’s be realistic here and cut out the bullshit WHAT IF and IT’S POSSIBLE scenarios.

The internet is the transportation of information. That’s about it, in summary.

Roads are for transportation of people and goods. They are regulated by the government. Sure, you think roads are bad. But imagine if they were managed by companies. You’d have to pay a fee to leave your neigborhood, then pay a fee to go an the highway, then pay a fee to park. The best part? The roads would probably be in worse condition.

The government is responsible for taking care of the people, NOT for taking care of corporations. Their concern with roads is public safety.

Corporations are interested in profit only, and their own interest. Just look at the American average internet compared to other countries http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/Images/commentarynews/broadbandspeedchart.jpg

Corporations see no reason to spend money to increase our download speeds if they are making a profit. The only time they would is if a competition had a better deal. Surprise! There’s no competition. It’s DSL vs Cable, if you are lucky.

Something needs to be done. Mind you, I’m anti government. But I’m all for net neutrality.

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OneTimeOnly March 11, 2011 at 7:37 pm

It’s true the FCC lacks explicit authority from congress to regulate internet service providers provision of network services. The FCC previously attempted to instate net neutrality as a function of its “ancillary” authority granted by Title I of the Communications Act, but when that authority was struck down in D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling (Comcast vs. FCC), they reclassified the authority according to Title II on Common Carriers. I really like the previous poster’s analogy of network services as a road. It could get very confusing if you had to pay extra to get into the high speed lane. And to be more precise, what we’re talking about here is not “I have to pay extra for DSL as compared to Dial-up,” it’s “I have to pay extra for my email to get to GMail as compared to Comcast”. The throttling of data TYPES is of primary concern to most net neutrality advocates. With cable service, we’ve come to expect that we pay extra for premium channels or a certain package of shows. With the internet, it would seem ridiculous to be able to access CNBC.com but not FOXNews.com or TheGuardian.com .

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