Tuesday, November 11, 2014

What's So Funny About Peace, Love and Net Neutrality?


How can anyone be against net neutrality? It sounds so right. As President Obama indicated last night the way to net neutrality is via Title II.

I believe the FCC should reclassify consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act
That's Title II of the Communications Act of 1934 (not a misprint, 1934.) That title deals with regulation of Common Carriers, and it was modeled after regulation of trains (I kid you not).

Here's the first part of Title II:

It shall be the duty of every common carrier engaged in interstate or foreign communication by wire or radio to furnish such communication service upon reasonable request therefor; and, in accordance with the orders of the Commission, in cases where the Commission, after opportunity for hearing, finds such action necessary or desirable in the public interest, to establish physical connections with other carriers, to establish through routes and charges applicable thereto and the divisions of such charges, and to establish and provide facilities and regulations for operating such through routes.
This will place the FCC squarely into the planning and approval of expansion of the internet's pipes.

(b) All charges, practices, classifications, and regulations for and in connection with such communication service, shall be just and reasonable, and any such charge, practice, classification, or regulation that is unjust or unreasonable is hereby declared to be unlawful:.....

The Commissioner may prescribe such rules and regulations as may be necessary in the public interest to carry out the provisions of this Act.
 New services will be approved by the FCC. Prices will be approved by the FCC.

Supports of Peace, love and net neutrality say the FCC will simply forebear this type of regulation. I think they are naive. Regulators use the power they are given. Regulatory agencies are also often driven by their political masters. For instance, the IRS investigates conservative non-profit groups at the very public behest of Democratic Senators. How long will it take a Republican Administration to ask the FCC to stop internet services favoring Democrats? How long will it take a Democrats Administration to ask the FCC to stop internet services favoring Republicans. 

Title II regulation of the Internet is a frightening prospect.


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