FCC Ends Zero-Rating Inquisition, Begins Rehabbing Its Regulatory Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy Behavior

by Mike Wendy on February 4, 2017

Yesterday, the FCC closed the dubious investigation into popular zero-rated offerings.

According to Commissioner Mike O’Rielly:

Today, the Commission finally puts an end to the past Commission’s zero-rating inquiries and recommits to permissionless innovation. While this is just a first step, these companies, and others, can now safely invest in and introduce highly popular products and services without fear of Commission intervention based on newly invented legal theories.

This does not mean that if the popular plans somehow harm consumers they can’t be addressed. The tools – marketplace and governmental – are readily available to do that if need be.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai (left) and Commissioner Mike O’reilly (right) presiding over the first Trump-era FCC open meeting earlier this week.

What it does mean is that the Commission is letting the public determine what the “public interest” is. Further, it looks like the new FCC has started rehabbing the agency’s more troubling monopolistic tendencies by eliminating some of its false scarcity / restricted output tactics. More often than not, these practices lift prices, limit services and thwart innovation – all of which harm consumers, not help them.

Hopefully more such pro-consumer changes are in the offing.

But not all are happy. Notes Wired:

The problem is that as appealing as free stuff might seem now, zero-rating could harm innovation long-term.

As Wired (and Net Neutrality supporters see it), evil always lingers somewhere off in the deep dark distance and is ready to mercilessly pounce at a moment’s notice. Of course, only government can protect us from it, no matter that it created the evil in the first place – a classic regulatory Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy behavior.

Let’s be clear, those that want restrictions on zero-rating (and so much more) via FDR-era utility regulation are anti-consumer. Arbitrary limits such as these are a false economy (or, dare I say, a lie).

The FCC is now finally becoming pro-consumer. Hooray! Keep it up, guys.

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