Net Neutrality is a horrendous cure for a nonexistent disease.

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Net Neutrality is a horrendous cure for a nonexistent disease.

On Novem­ber 21st FCC Chair­man Ajit Pai sent shock waves through­out the inter­net when he released this State­ment announc­ing an end to Pres­i­dent Obama’s mis­guided and dis­as­trous Net Neu­tral­ity. Here are the open­ing para­graphs from that statement.

For almost twenty years, the Inter­net thrived under the light-​touch reg­u­la­tory approach estab­lished by Pres­i­dent Clin­ton and a Repub­li­can Con­gress. This bipar­ti­san frame­work led the pri­vate sec­tor to invest $1.5 tril­lion build­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions net­works through­out the United States. And it gave us an Inter­net econ­omy that became the envy of the world.

But in 2015, the prior FCC bowed to pres­sure from Pres­i­dent Obama. On a party-​line vote, it imposed heavy-​handed, utility-​style reg­u­la­tions upon the Inter­net. That deci­sion was a mis­take. It’s depressed invest­ment in build­ing and expand­ing broad­band net­works and deterred innovation.

When I read the state­ment I was quite elated. I knew all of my lib­eral friends on Face­book would not share my joy, they would be angry and they would express their anger in the form of memes which bore lit­tle resem­blance to real­ity. My response was to leave them alone and to share arti­cles set­ting the record straight about Net Neu­tral­ity, which was Pres­i­dent Obama’s attempt to make the inter­net into a social­ist utopia.

From the begin­ning Net Neu­tral­ity was mis­guided because it was based on a lie. In a speech, which was quoted in this Bre­it­bart Arti­cle, FCC Chair­man Ajit Pai described this lie when he said:

Num­ber one there was no prob­lem to solve; the inter­net wasn’t bro­ken in 2015. In that sit­u­a­tion, it doesn’t seem me that pre­emp­tive market-​wide reg­u­la­tion is nec­es­sary. Num­ber two, even if there was a prob­lem, this wasn’t the right solu­tion to adopt. These Title II reg­u­la­tions were inspired dur­ing the Great Depres­sion to reg­u­late Ma Bell which was a tele­phone monop­oly. And the broad­band mar­ket we have is very dif­fer­ent from the tele­phone mar­ket of 1934. So, it seems to me that if you have 4,462 inter­net ser­vice providers and if a few of them are behav­ing in a way that is anti­com­pet­i­tive or oth­er­wise bad for con­sumer wel­fare then you take tar­geted action to deal with that. You don’t declare the entire mar­ket anti­com­pet­i­tive and treat every­one as if they are a monopolist.

There was no evi­dence of wide­spread price goug­ing, cen­sor­ship by ISPs, or other harm­ful prac­tices prior to the enact­ing of Net Neu­tral­ity. Reg­u­lat­ing the inter­net as a util­ity was the most over­bear­ing form of reg­u­lat­ing the Obama admin­is­tra­tion could imple­ment. Why did the Obama admin­is­tra­tion take over the inter­net through exec­u­tive fiat? This Amer­i­can Thinker Arti­cle sheds light on the pri­mary motivation:

Pres­i­dent Obama feared the free flow of infor­ma­tion as a threat to his power grabs and attempt to fun­da­men­tally trans­form the United States. Just as cable news elim­i­nated the old guard network’s role as gate­keep­ers of what we saw and heard, the Inter­net freed infor­ma­tion con­sumers to seek the truth and speak their minds in an unfet­tered environment.

Under net neu­tral­ity, the FCC took for itself the power to reg­u­late how Inter­net providers man­age their net­works and how they serve their cus­tomers. The FCC would decide how and what infor­ma­tion could flow through the Inter­net, all in the name of pro­vid­ing access to the alleged vic­tims of cor­po­rate greed.

Net Neu­tral­ity was all about social jus­tice not elim­i­nat­ing harm­ful prac­tices. Accord­ing to this Investor Busi­ness Daily edi­to­r­ial, Obama’s FCC Chair­man Julius Gena­chowski stated pur­pose for Net Neu­tral­ity was:

Gena­chowski insists net neu­tral­ity is designed only to pre­vent com­mu­ni­ca­tion giants such as Com­cast and Ver­i­zon from block­ing some web­sites while favor­ing oth­ers, par­tic­u­larly their own, with higher speeds and bet­ter qual­ity. The poor and minori­ties are shoved aside in the name of profit….

…In the name of pro­vid­ing access to the alleged down­trod­den vic­tims of cor­po­rate greed, the FCC pro­poses to take unto itself the power to reg­u­late how Inter­net providers man­age their net­works, how they serve their cus­tomers. The FCC would decide how and what infor­ma­tion could flow through the Internet.

Accord­ing to the same arti­cle, Obama’s FCC Diver­sity Czar Mark Lloyd wrote:

Net Neu­tral­ity Is A Civil Rights Issue. Unfor­tu­nately, the pow­er­ful cable and tele­com indus­try doesn’t value the Inter­net for its pub­lic inter­est ben­e­fits. Instead, these com­pa­nies too often believe that to safe­guard their prof­its, they must con­trol what con­tent you see and how you get it

The free mar­ket, which is the most mighty eco­nomic engine yet devised, built the inter­net. What fuel does the free mar­ket run on? Prof­its are the fuel. It was the quest for higher prof­its that cre­ated the most rev­o­lu­tion­ary com­mu­ni­ca­tion medium that ever existed. Com­pe­ti­tion was what reg­u­lated the inter­net. Gov­ern­ment reg­u­la­tion only hin­ders and destroys. The free exchange of money for goods and ser­vices is the most color blind form of social inter­ac­tion that ever existed.

Net Neu­tral­ity has had very neg­a­tive effects on the inter­net. Free State Foun­da­tion Pres­i­dent Ran­dolph May describes these neg­a­tive effects in this Bre­it­bart article

The FCC’s cur­rent reg­u­la­tions, put in place at Pres­i­dent Obama’s direc­tion in 2015, con­sti­tute a mis­guided act of reg­u­la­tory aggres­sion lev­eled at the dynamic broad­band Inter­net mar­ket­place. It is none too soon to repeal them. Already, there is per­sua­sive evi­dence that apply­ing a pub­lic util­ity reg­u­la­tory régime to Inter­net ser­vice providers has slowed invest­ment in new facil­i­ties. As demand for Inter­net ser­vices con­tin­ues to grow expo­nen­tially, the nation can ill-​afford to risk deter­ring invest­ment in new high-​speed networks.

The moment FCC Chair­man Ajit Pai released his state­ment a wave of out­rage swept over indi­vid­u­als from the polit­i­cal left. Julian Sanchez of the Cato Insti­tute described the out­rage in this Fox News Article

There’s plenty of scare­mon­ger­ing around steps broad­band providers could take in the absence of neu­tral­ity reg­u­la­tion — block­ing off cer­tain sites, or charg­ing extra fees to access cer­tain ser­vices — but not a ton of rea­son to think they would do these things, which would antag­o­nize cus­tomers, be tech­ni­cally tricky to enforce against sophis­ti­cated users, and invite the re-​imposition of regulations.

Major Inter­net Ser­vice providers do make con­ve­nient vil­lains in all of this Net Neu­tral­ity debate because they are not pop­u­lar with their cus­tomers. A great many believe their ISPs pro­vide lousy cus­tomer ser­vice and many feel they are over­charged for the ser­vice they receive. Why are ISPs able to get away with these unpop­u­lar prac­tices? Gov­ern­ment reg­u­la­tions at the fed­eral, state, and local lev­els effec­tively grant these com­pa­nies monop­o­lies on the local level. This arti­cle from Wired doc­u­ments how these monop­o­lies are granted and how they limit com­pe­ti­tion. Repeal­ing Net Neu­tral­ity is just the first step to truly free­ing the inter­net. Reg­u­la­tions at all lev­els must be repealed.

On November 21st FCC Chairman Ajit Pai sent shock waves throughout the internet when he released this Statement announcing an end to President Obama’s misguided and disastrous Net Neutrality.  Here are the opening paragraphs from that statement.

For almost twenty years, the Internet thrived under the light-touch regulatory approach established by President Clinton and a Republican Congress. This bipartisan framework led the private sector to invest $1.5 trillion building communications networks throughout the United States. And it gave us an Internet economy that became the envy of the world.

But in 2015, the prior FCC bowed to pressure from President Obama. On a party-line vote, it imposed heavy-handed, utility-style regulations upon the Internet. That decision was a mistake.  It’s depressed investment in building and expanding broadband networks and deterred innovation.

When I read the statement I was quite elated.  I knew all of my liberal friends on Facebook would not share my joy, they would be angry and they would express their anger in the form of memes which bore little resemblance to reality.  My response was to leave them alone and to share articles setting the record straight about Net Neutrality, which was President Obama’s attempt to make the internet into a socialist utopia.

From the beginning Net Neutrality was misguided because it was based on a lie.  In a speech, which was quoted in this Breitbart Article, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai described this lie when he said:

Number one there was no problem to solve; the internet wasn’t broken in 2015. In that situation, it doesn’t seem me that preemptive market-wide regulation is necessary. Number two, even if there was a problem, this wasn’t the right solution to adopt. These Title II regulations were inspired during the Great Depression to regulate Ma Bell which was a telephone monopoly. And the broadband market we have is very different from the telephone market of 1934. So, it seems to me that if you have 4,462 internet service providers and if a few of them are behaving in a way that is anticompetitive or otherwise bad for consumer welfare then you take targeted action to deal with that. You don’t declare the entire market anticompetitive and treat everyone as if they are a monopolist.

There was no evidence of widespread price gouging, censorship by ISPs, or other harmful practices prior to the enacting of Net Neutrality.  Regulating the internet as a utility was the most overbearing form of regulating the Obama administration could implement.  Why did the Obama administration take over the internet through executive fiat? This American Thinker Article sheds light on the primary motivation:

President Obama feared the free flow of information as a threat to his power grabs and attempt to fundamentally transform the United States. Just as cable news eliminated the old guard network’s role as gatekeepers of what we saw and heard, the Internet freed information consumers to seek the truth and speak their minds in an unfettered environment.

Under net neutrality, the FCC took for itself the power to regulate how Internet providers manage their networks and how they serve their customers. The FCC would decide how and what information could flow through the Internet, all in the name of providing access to the alleged victims of corporate greed.

Net Neutrality was all about social justice not eliminating harmful practices.   According to this Investor Business Daily editorial, Obama’s FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski stated purpose for Net Neutrality was:

Genachowski insists net neutrality is designed only to prevent communication giants such as Comcast and Verizon from blocking some websites while favoring others, particularly their own, with higher speeds and better quality. The poor and minorities are shoved aside in the name of profit….

…In the name of providing access to the alleged downtrodden victims of corporate greed, the FCC proposes to take unto itself the power to regulate how Internet providers manage their networks, how they serve their customers. The FCC would decide how and what information could flow through the Internet.

According to the same article, Obama’s FCC Diversity Czar Mark Lloyd wrote:

Net Neutrality Is A Civil Rights Issue.  Unfortunately, the powerful cable and telecom industry doesn’t value the Internet for its public interest benefits.  Instead, these companies too often believe that to safeguard their profits, they must control what content you see and how you get it

The free market, which is the most mighty economic engine yet devised, built the internet.   What fuel does the free market run on?  Profits are the fuel.  It was the quest for higher profits that created the most revolutionary communication medium that ever existed.  Competition was what regulated the internet.  Government regulation only hinders and destroys.  The free exchange of money for goods and services is the most color blind form of social interaction that ever existed.

Net Neutrality has had very negative effects on the internet.   Free State Foundation President Randolph May describes these negative effects in this Breitbart article

The FCC’s current regulations, put in place at President Obama’s direction in 2015, constitute a misguided act of regulatory aggression leveled at the dynamic broadband Internet marketplace. It is none too soon to repeal them. Already, there is persuasive evidence that applying a public utility regulatory regime to Internet service providers has slowed investment in new facilities. As demand for Internet services continues to grow exponentially, the nation can ill-afford to risk deterring investment in new high-speed networks.

The moment FCC Chairman Ajit Pai released his statement a wave of outrage swept over individuals from the political left.   Julian Sanchez of the Cato Institute described the outrage in this Fox News Article

There’s plenty of scaremongering around steps broadband providers could take in the absence of neutrality regulation — blocking off certain sites, or charging extra fees to access certain services — but not a ton of reason to think they would do these things, which would antagonize customers, be technically tricky to enforce against sophisticated users, and invite the re-imposition of regulations.

Major Internet Service providers do make convenient villains in all of this Net Neutrality debate because they are not popular with their customers.   A great many believe their ISPs provide lousy customer service and many feel they are overcharged for the service they receive.  Why are ISPs able to get away with these unpopular practices?  Government regulations at the federal, state, and local levels effectively grant these companies monopolies on the local level.   This article from Wired documents how these monopolies are granted and how they limit competition.  Repealing Net Neutrality is just the first step to truly freeing the internet.  Regulations at all levels must be repealed.