Net Neutrality: LA Times Wants To Regulate Internet Like Any Other Utility

It’s been two years since the FCC killed of the latest version of Net Neutrality, which was never about neutrality, but giving the federal government massive new powers over the Internet, Internet companies, and what you see on the Internet. We were all supposed to die from the ending of NN, but, we’re still here, right? Doom didn’t happen. Stateists won’t give up, though, on their big government ideas

Column: It’s time to regulate internet service like any other utility

Speculation has been growing in recent days that struggling satellite-TV provider Dish Network could merge with AT&T’s DirecTV satellite service.

Dish’s chairman, Charlie Ergen, fanned the flames last week when he told financial analysts a deal with rival DirecTV is “probably inevitable” as both services navigate an increasingly challenging competitive landscape.

I don’t know about inevitable, but I suspect the smart money is on Dish, which also owns Sling TV, climbing into bed with someone (if not DirecTV, maybe Amazon?).

My typical reaction to any news of possible market consolidation is that consumers could be about to get hosed. Less competition almost always means diminished service and higher prices.

Not necessarily.

Moreover, perhaps a bigger worry isn’t that cord-cutting is taking a toll on traditional pay-TV providers. It’s that telecom companies, seeing how the wind is blowing, are responding to the rise in streaming services by jacking up prices for broadband internet access.

If their costs go up because more bandwith is used, well, yeah. Are they supposed to take losses? The cost of the LA Times has gone up, right? Anyhow, David Lazarus yammers about that, then the Sirius and XM satellite radio merger, more on Dish, till finally

Which brings us to broadband.

Telecom companies will do everything possible to protect shareholder value. For the likes of AT&T, Comcast, Charter/Spectrum and others, that means offsetting losses in TV subscribers by increasing revenue from fast-growing internet-only customers.

Spectrum, the dominant cable company in Southern California, announced last fall that the cost of its standard internet service was rising by $4 a month to $69.99. If you use the company’s gear for Wi-Fi, your monthly cost rose by $5 to $75.99.

OK. Prices rise. Costs go up.

When it comes to internet access, though, we’re not talking about a luxury, such as subscribing to HBO. We’re talking about a necessity. (snip)

Service providers should have to justify rate increases just like other utilities. If higher prices are warranted by legitimate operating costs, so be it. (snip)

It also means consumers need to be protected from price gouging for something they can’t live without. Give state public utilities commissions the power to oversee internet pricing.

You know what’s pretty much a monopoly? Water, garbage, sewer, and energy. Do you have a choice in who you pick? Nope. Government controls that. Yes, price rises in Internet service are annoying. Would you want government regulating it? Because what comes next when they get their claws into pricing? Mission creep always happens.

And you know what’s happened since NN was done away with? Nothing.

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10 Responses to “Net Neutrality: LA Times Wants To Regulate Internet Like Any Other Utility”

  1. Nighthawk says:

    Since when is internet access a necessity?

  2. Professor Hale says:

    I realize freedom is temporary in the span of human history. I intend to enjoy it while it lasts.

  3. Kye says:

    Internet accessibility may not be a necessity in the life threatening way water and utilities are but to some it’s their livelihood and lifeline. Since my retirement I derive most of my domestic earnings through the internet.

    I’m a big capitalist but lately I’ve noticed the humongous inequality of income due mostly to the advent of the internet. So many billionaires worldwide owe their giant rise in fortune to the net. So do untold millionaires. Now, I realize the unequal distribution of income is due to different people having different abilities and demand for what they produce but some of these disparities are actually hard to take on balance if you are a real capitalist and not a crony capitalist which I believe is what “the few” have done to our system. What I see as inequality is the number of crony capitalists making huge sums by virtue of their connections both political and industrial and by their perpetuation of huge incomes relatively untaxed by the use of loopholes.

    It’s quite perplexing to a die-hard capitalist to have to agree with fukin socialists about income inequality. And what’s worse we can’t seem to figure out what to do about it without becoming a communist dictatorship.

    Trump 2020 We can figure it out.

    • Elwood P. Dowd says:

      Kye,

      We don’t have to become a communist dictatorship to start working toward equality. In a capitalist system there will always be winners and losers, and as you point out, not always based on their merits.

      We CAN figure it out. But we do NOT have to give up our capitalist generator that has created the Western world. We can figure out how to instill economic fairness so that the ingenuity of a Gates, Jobs, Musk or a Jim Allison is rewarded but that the working classes can also benefit. Remember when a working man could support a family, buy a house, take a family vacation and send a kid to college? Perhaps we’ll never return to that (and it wasn’t so great for everyone) but perhaps we can figure out a way to rebalance the system, if even a bit.

      • formwiz says:

        We CAN figure it out. But we do NOT have to give up our capitalist generator that has created the Western world. We can figure out how to instill economic fairness so that the ingenuity of a Gates, Jobs, Musk or a Jim Allison is rewarded but that the working classes can also benefit

        What we’ve got now, what we didn’t have when the Ozarks and the Choom Gang were running things.

        Remember when a working man could support a family, buy a house, take a family vacation and send a kid to college?

        In which parallel universe was this?

        To get the kid through college, the kid worked his way through or earned a scholarship and a family vaca was only made possible by owning a car. That was a measure of the capitalist success of post WWII America, not any New Deal scheme.

        Perhaps we’ll never return to that (and it wasn’t so great for everyone) but perhaps we can figure out a way to rebalance the system, if even a bit.

        Reblalance (Translation): Equal misery for all, but the ruling class of Lurches, Ozarks, Chooms, Gropin’s, and Pelosis.

  4. John says:

    teach you would want Duke Power to be able to charge you whatever they wished ?

  5. Dana says:

    Of course the credentialed media want the internet regulated: they’ve been bemoaning the loss of their gatekeeping function for years now. If government can start regulating the internet, then all that remains for the media to do is to make sure one of Their People becomes the internet regulator.

  6. talgus says:

    the only real choice is to move to a location that is freer. Getting harder all the time with the steady glacial movement of progressives (when they are opposed, with not, see SanFran, Portland, Virginia)

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