Thursday, December 23, 2010

The FCC's Net Neutrality: How "Neutral" is it?

Is it just more heavy-handed government interference? Many say yes:

Internet access is not a “civil right”
When bureaucrats talk about increasing your “access” to X, Y, or Z, what they’re really talking about is increasing their control over your lives exponentially. As it is with the government health care takeover, so it is with the newly-approved government plan to “increase” Internet “access.” Call it Webcare.

By a vote of 3-2, the Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday adopted a controversial scheme to ensure “net neutrality” by turning unaccountable Democrat appointees into meddling online traffic cops. The panel will devise convoluted rules governing Internet service providers, bandwidth use, content, prices, and even disclosure details on Internet speeds. The “neutrality” is brazenly undermined by preferential treatment toward wireless broadband networks. Moreover, the FCC’s scheme is widely opposed by Congress – and has already been rejected once in the courts. Demonized industry critics have warned that the regulations will stifle innovation and result in less access, not more.

Sound familiar?

The parallels with health care are striking. The architects of Obamacare promised to provide Americans more access to health insurance – and cast their agenda as a fundamental universal entitlement. In fact, it was a pretext for creating a gargantuan federal bureaucracy with the power to tax, redistribute, and regulate the private health insurance market to death – and replace it with a centrally-planned government system overseen by politically-driven code enforcers dictating everything from annual coverage limits, to administrative expenditures, to the make-up of the medical workforce. The costly, onerous, and selectively-applied law has resulted in less access, not more. [...]

From the Washington Post:

Net Neutrality: Reactions to FCC ruling and analysis
[...] Everyone's weighing in on the Federal Communications Commission's vote to approve net neutrality rules on Tuesday. While President Obama and others hailed the move as an important step in preserving open access, the criticism started flowing almost as soon as the vote was announced.

In the Wall Street Journal, columnist John Fund says the vote is a coup by left-leaning lobbyists. He says he counted the citations from the FCC's National Broadband plan and noted there were far fewer nods from "respected think tanks" such as the Brookings Institution, as opposed to "liberal groups" such as Free Press, Public Knowledge, Pew and the New America Foundation.

Heavy-handed government "solutions" often end up creating more problems than they solve, or achieving the exact opposite of what they claim they are trying to do. This may be a case in point. It has a lot of opposition already, from the both the Left and Right. Some of the arguments in it's favor sound compelling, but from what I've been reading, it seems that it's over-reaching, trying to do too much. In short, too much government interference.

We'll see what happens.

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