The Left’s all in a tizzy about the FCC’s latest Net Neutrality proposal. In its view, unless the Commission reclassifies ISPs as old-time telephone utilities, the FCC is screwing America. Wall Street Journal’s L. Gordon Crovitz picks up on this craziness, today noting:
The Internet has always operated with the fast lanes lobbyists now oppose…Contrary to arguments by net-neutrality lobbyists, even being a public utility doesn’t ban fast lanes: The highly regulated Postal Service offers Priority and Express mail, and regulated toll roads, tunnels and bridges have literal fast lanes.
Early last week I tweeted out a bunch of simple graphics that, while I can’t say for sure if Crovitz saw these, certainly illustrate what he’s talking about.
Here’s the 4-1-1 for the anti-property Left, which so wants benign-sounding reclassification / Title ll for ISPs: Even if it gets imposed by the FCC (which it hopefully won’t), the Communications Act and the Constitution demand that “reasonable discrimination” happen. Among other things, past Title ll practice at the FCC has allowed volume discounts for big users, private carriage arrangements, business to local cross-subsidies, and, yes, dreaded “fast lanes” for customers willing to pay for them. This inevitably will continue if such a rule is enacted by the agency.
Crovitz’s larger point in his article – that is, be careful what you wish for, Silicon Valley – is the real danger. Even with the “lesser” 706 proposal on the table for the pending Net Neutrality rule (which allows for “fast lanes”), the FCC is seeking to use its power to directly regulate the Internet.
Ironically, the pro-innovation arguments once associated with Silicon Valley are now being made by Internet service providers like AT&T and Verizon. CEOs of 28 ISPs objected in a letter to Mr. Wheeler that new regulations over the Internet would mean the “FCC has plenary authority to regulate rates, terms and conditions, mandate wholesale access to broadband networks, transit providers and connected devices.” The letter warned: “An era of differentiation, innovation and experimentation would be replaced with a series of ‘Government may I?’ requests from American entrepreneurs.” (Emphasis added)
Wow. Heads the FCC wins, tails we lose.
Thanks, Silicon Valley for that great gift!
Oh, and thanks, “consumer advocates” – like Public Knowledge, Free Press and New America Foundation – that used Silicon Valley support (and lots of it) to push for Net Neutrality. Y’all asked for it, now you own it. Sad, however, that the average American will be stuck paying your bill.