“At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies. We are not at that point yet. But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control.”
The illegal net neutrality order being struck down is a setback for McChesney and his allies (Free Press sent out an email with the subject line: “Net Neutrality Is Dead”), but it also risks emboldening them and giving them renewed momentum for a more direct assault on the free-market Internet. In reaction to the court’s decision, advocates of regulation are already upping the ante and calling for the nuclear option of outright reclassifying broadband Internet as an old-time telephone monopoly and imposing pervasive, crippling regulation.
And that of course is the real danger; that the remarkable free market success story of broadband infrastructure will be overrun by government regulation and ultimately become a regulated utility in as poor a shape as the country’s roads, bridges, and water infrastructure.
Notwithstanding Silberman’s brilliant dissent, the majority in Verizon v. FCC staked out a middle ground providing a clear path forward. The court upheld the disclosure rules, which will ensure consumers know how broadband providers manage their networks; they can vote with their wallets.
The court also found the FCC now has authority to “promulgate rules governing broadband providers’ treatment of Internet traffic,” without resorting to heavy-handed utility-style regulation.I’m not convinced any such regulation is needed, but those who think otherwise should pursue modest rules-of-the-road that still allow a diversity of business models to be developed and innovation to proceed without permission from regulators.
Phil Kerpen is president of American Commitment, a columnist on Fox News Opinion, chairman of the Internet Freedom Coalition, and author of the 2011 book Democracy Denied.
American Commitment is dedicated to restoring and protecting America’s core commitment to free markets, economic growth, Constitutionally-limited government, property rights, and individual freedom.
Washingtonian magazine named Mr. Kerpen to their "Guest List" in 2008 and The Hill newspaper named Mr. Kerpen a "Top Grassroots Lobbyist" in 2011.
Mr. Kerpen's op-eds have run in newspapers across the country and he is a frequent radio and television commentator on economic growth issues.
Prior to joining American Commitment, Mr. Kerpen served as vice president for policy at Americans for Prosperity. Mr. Kerpen has also previously worked as an analyst and researcher for the Free Enterprise Fund, the Club for Growth, and the Cato Institute.
A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Mr. Kerpen currently resides in Washington, D.C. with his wife Joanna and their daughter Lilly.
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