Mr. Obama has decided to weight in on net neutrality, which has mostly been some sort of minor Progressive issue that they want because….well, no one is really sure. Most of them are probably not sure. They just know that Government Regulation Is Awesome. As long as it only negatively affects Other People, of course. Interestingly, Mr. Obama made the pronouncement while in China, because we all know just how open China is
Symbolism of Obama pushing new govt controls on Internet while in China is unsettling. Embracing his inner tyrant? pic.twitter.com/efYYga2rqA
— MATT DRUDGE (@DRUDGE) November 10, 2014
China has massive regulations on the Internet. If any Chinese people would like to read this post, they can’t, because my little blog is blocked in China. The government of India also asked providers to block my site, along with 17 others. They eventually rescinded that order, but, in some cases, it is still blocked. Would the US government go that far? Probably not, and, that is not the issue at hand. But, as we’ve seen with government intrusion into the free market, there can be mission creep. Here’s Hit And Run’s Nick Gillespie
So President Obama has announced that the Internet should be regulated as a public utility. He’s asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reclassify internet service providers (ISPs) from “information services” under Title I as telecommunications providers under Title II regulatory guidelines. (See here for background on the distinction.)
This is all being done in the name of “Net Neutrality,” keeping the Internet free and open, prohibiting “fast lanes” for certain services and sites, making sure no legal content is blocked, and all other horribles that…have failed to materialize in the absence of increased federal regulation.
Nick makes an interesting comparison to the old landline (a word that didn’t exist at the time) phone companies which were massively regulated when Obama was growing up. The explosion of service happened when they were deregulated. In my lifetime I’ve seen the Internet go from something no one knew about, to using dial up to access a tiny amount of information via a Radio Shack program, to true dial up programs, of which AOL was the biggest (remember all the floppy disks and CDs?). Then to true broadband, with continuously faster and faster speeds. There are all sorts of packages available for the speed you want. And, if they do not give you the choice you want? Switch. Verizon has one speed where my parents live, and it is not fast enough for Mom to stream Amazon and Netflix on here new TV (nor on her Kindle Fire), so, she’s switching to Comcast.
The same could be said of the mobile web. When it first went live here in Raleigh, it was called WAP (wireless access protocol), and had a top throughput of 14.4kbs, with a real throughput of no more than 9.6kbs. Then on to Edge, with a top speed of 56kbs (actual speed was less). Then 3G. Now 4G. What’s next?
Breitbart’s Ben Shapiro offers 7 reasons net neutrality is a dumb idea (I’m not going to excerpt them all, that would be Bad Form, so head over to the article)
On Monday, President Obama announced that he would be pushing the Federal Communications Commission to begin enforcing “net neutrality” – a policy by which internet service providers would be forced to load all web sites at the same speed. While the internet works just fine as is, President Obama believes we’re mere moments away from the system breaking down barring massive government intervention:
We cannot allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to restrict the best access or to pick winners and losers in the online marketplace for services and ideas. I believe the FCC should create a new set of rules protecting net neutrality and ensuring that neither the cable company nor the phone company will be able to act as a gatekeeper, restricting what you can do or see online. (WT note: Obama wants The Government to be that gatekeeper)
If this sounds suspiciously like the language President Obama used with regard to health insurance in his pitch for Obamacare – unlimited access and zero scarcity, as dictated by the government – that’s because it is. Free market economics generally create higher supply, lower price, and better service. But President Obama believes that markets inevitably fail.
We Already Have Net Neutrality. As a result of competition between internet service providers in the marketplace, ISPs generally do not discriminate against highly-trafficked websites. If they did – holding a figurative gun to the head of those websites by throttling back speed to those websites – consumers would dump those ISPs in favor of others. Competition ensures that companies do not have the leverage to discriminate against particular websites.
Interesting, that’s what my mom did. I know several people in my community who had AT&T Internet, and AT&T intentionally did away with their 3.6mbs plan, leaving just the two slower plans. We thought this was because their Uverse was coming. Nope. So, they switched to Time Warner.
Some Companies Take Up More Bandwidth Than Others. Netflix consumes a huge amount of peak traffic bandwidth. That costs ISPs money. Pornography sites consume a huge amount of bandwidth. That costs ISPs money. Were an ISP to push YouPorn to pay fees for its higher bandwidth, consumers of the ISP who did not use YouPorn would be the beneficiaries – they wouldn’t be subsidizing YouPorn. As Alexandra Petri of Washington Post writes, “To use one of those dreaded analogies, if you are constantly driving huge trucks, full of big deliveries of pornography, along a road, why shouldn’t you have to pay more for the road’s upkeep?”
Interestingly, Liberals are pushing for something similar, whereby ever car is tracked (surprise!) and charged a tax for miles driven.
Content Restrictions From The Government. The government promises that it will use the power of net neutrality for good, not evil. But just like the government’s once-infamous Fairness Doctrine, the notion of the government determining what equal access to the internet looks like is deeply problematic. Kessler writes:
You can already smell the mandates and the loopholes once Congress gets involved. Think special, high-speed priority for campaign commercials or educational videos about global warming. Or roadblocks–like requiring emergency 911 service–to try to kill off free Internet telephone services such as Skype.
Could it happen? Fairness Doctrine. Which liberals are pushing to reinstate, because they are getting their butts kicked by conservative talk radio.
You can read Obama’s full statement here. Why is he pushing this now? We can only guess. It could be a Typical Obama Distraction issue. He loves those, and, being that he and the Democrats lost big during the midterms, he needs a distraction. He may be looking for a fight with Republicans. He loves fighting. It’s part of his community organizer background, creating strife and conflict. At the end of the day, though, he’s asking the FCC to solve a problem that only exists in the minds of liberals.
Crossed at Right Wing News.