Democrats At FCC Propose Bringing Back Net Neutrality

Is this really necessary? Or, just another case of Democrats wanting to control everything?

The Biden FCC’s Plan to Brake 5G

Remember predictions that Trump Federal Communications Commission Chair Ajit Pai would break the internet by rescinding the Obama “net neutrality” rules? The internet somehow still works and is now even faster. Yet Biden regulators plan to “fix” it by re-imposing political control.

Democratic FCC Commissioner Anna Gomez was sworn in Monday, and Chair Jessica Rosenworcel is off and running with a new 3-2 majority. On Tuesday she announced plans to reinstate the Obama regulatory regime that reclassified broadband providers as common carriers under Title II of the 1934 Communications Act.

Net neutrality has long been a rallying cry on the left. Progressives claimed during the Obama years that broadband providers had to be regulated as utilities so they wouldn’t slow or block websites. Yet providers weren’t doing so then and haven’t since the Trump FCC scrapped the Title II regime in 2018.

Instead, Americans have experienced faster broadband speeds. By the end of 2019, 94% of Americans had access to high-speed fixed and mobile broadband, up from 77% in 2015. Between 2016 and 2019, the number of rural Americans lacking high-speed internet fell nearly 50%.

Broadband investment dipped after the Obama FCC imposed Title II in 2015. But the Title II rollback and 5G rollout have produced a surge of investment. Last year the industry spent $102 billion on capital expenditure, up from $76 billion in 2016. Prices for internet service have risen 7% since January 2020, much less than the 18.2% increase in the consumer-price index.

Consider: without any sort of Net Neutrality, Internet went from a slow dial-up with barely any content and barely anyone with it to the immense speeds available today with numerous providers. Mobile Internet went from super slow WAP at around 14.4kbs to super fast (a speed check just showed 332mps on T-Mobile). Mobile providers offer devices to use mobile service as home Internet, no hard connections required.

On of the reasons they said we needed NN was so that ISPs did not intentionally block, slow down, or charge money for specific online content. Yet, are they? No. Unless you do not pay your bill. And, yes, some content is extra. That’s life.

Contrast this high-speed U.S. leap to Europe where broadband providers are regulated as utilities. By 2020 U.S. rural fixed broadband deployment led all areas in the European Union. The digital divide between Europe and the U.S. has been growing as investment per household is three times higher in the U.S.

Americans today can enjoy streaming their favorite shows without service interruptions that are common in Europe. The faster U.S. speeds and greater broadband access have enabled more technological innovation, including in artificial intelligence. Farmers can use automated and connected equipment to collect data and grow crops more efficiently.

Why would Democrats want to go to this? For all their fancy words, it’s about control. Control of the content you see.

But Title II could provide the FCC an opening to regulate rates, though Ms. Rosenworcel says she won’t. The agency might also seek to prohibit providers from giving customers free access to streaming services on grounds that this favors some content providers. AT&T provides Max service at no charge to customers with unlimited plans.

I get Apple TV (not that there’s really content), Netflix, and the MLB package for free from T-Mobile. NN rules could kill that off.

Preventing companies from offering perks to consumers can’t be popular. Then again, as Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan showed by suing Amazon on Tuesday, progressives are happy to ignore consumer welfare. Their goal is to impose more political control over the economy, and they are dusting off ancient laws to do so.

That’s what Democrats do. And, they do not have legal authority to do so, and, if they try this, they will soon find themselves in front of the Supreme Court which will state this.

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5 Responses to “Democrats At FCC Propose Bringing Back Net Neutrality”

  1. Flexo says:

    On of the reasons they said we needed NN was so that ISPs did not intentionally block, slow down, or charge money for specific online content. Yet, are they?

    Actually… yes they are. Hurricane Electric is one of the biggest providers and backbones to the internet, yet earlier this year they were cutting off perfectly legal internet sites from being accessed by users.

    I’m not one who trusts the democrats to actually do what they say, but the concept of net neutrality is one I support. (James Lindsay also spoke about this on his podcast about the “digital gulag.”)

    Trust me, just because you’re not aware of it, doesn’t mean it’s not happening. They have gotten very aware that the best way to get away with their stuff is to suppress news of the martyrs.

  2. Professor Hale says:

    I see no real difference between private ISP companies limiting choice and content, and the government doing it through law. If anything, the government version will be harder for average users to get around.

    Remember: The name of legislation normally indicates the opposite of how it will actually be used. You cannot go wrong with government having less power than they currently do.

  3. Dan says:

    Yes… it’s about control. It’s ALWAYS about control because that’s the only thing that truly matters to a leftist. And the courts have already ruled against their net neutrality scheme. They don’t care. The left does what it wants and ignores the law and court rulings. The left has on!y ONE rule they obey. WIN! By any cost and any action. The only language they will listen to is the universal language…violence. If you won’t stop them forcibly they WILL NOT STOP.

  4. JimS says:

    The FCC should have nothing to do with content on the internet. Their only concern should be the technical issues of allocating spectrum for the wireless parts of it, and regulating interference to other services from internet hardware.

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