Net neutrality is the latest overreach by the federal government to censor the web. Rules passed by the Federal Communications Commission in December limit the ability of internet service providers, including wireless providers, cable and phone companies, to offer tiered pricing levels based on content, applications, and other factors related to amount or type of usage. The internet has changed with the rapid rise of online services like YouTube, Netflix and Skype which consume large amounts of bandwidth, slowing down internet service for others.
Proponents of Net neutrality insist that it merely keeps the status quo, prohibiting “discrimination” by a few dominant internet providers, and “ensuring” free speech. In reality, it will increase regulation and costs by restricting companies from making marketwise choices. Moreover, additional government rules and regulations rarely increase freedom of speech.
Leading proponents of Net neutrality include Google, no doubt due to its recent purchase of YouTube, one of the heaviest users of bandwidth on the internet. Companies like Microsoft, IBM, and Amazon have gone along with Net neutrality, believing it was inevitable and hoping to have some say in how the rules were drafted.
There are several left wing public interest groups pushing Net neutrality, led by Free Press. The Federal Communications Commission selectively took information from those left wing organizations to justify its new rules
There has already been at least one complaint filed with the FCC against a company alleging violations over tiered pricing. MetroPCS, a broadband provider, is offering unlimited internet access for the extremely competitive price of $40 per month. It includes everything except content from a few bandwidth hogging applications like Netflix and Skype (Skype is a competitor of MetroPCS in voice telephony service). Full access is $60 per month.
The FCC rules were drafted to appease a few of the largest technology companies, not consumers. What is the likelihood that FCC determinations on what constitutes “unreasonable discrimination” will favor certain favored companies over others?
This is unnecessary government intervention seeking to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. Congress needs to curtail the FCC’s authority. Five appointed members on a commission have no business making such far-reaching decisions affecting all of our lives. Expect to see lawsuits filed by companies like MetroPCS challenging the breadth of the FCC’s oversight.