Here it is, the vaunted Net Neutrality. More specifically, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has moved to declare Internet broadband a Title II services, bringing it under the umbrella of its regulatory powers as a public utility.
I would be great if anybody knew what this actually was, how you manage it technologically, or why the FCC has any credibility or capability to make the Internet better. I think the FCC is the wrong bureaucracy (if any) to be put in charge of it, and how it is a big threat to the freedom of the Internet.
Why are the faux hipsters celebrating? It seems as if there is a populist movement afoot to embrace Net Neutrality because “cable companies are evil” and it somehow represents some kind of intellectual freedom, when in fact it’s the opposite. Last I checked, Netflix and CEO Reed Hastings were making a ton of money, so I’m not sure whether that qualifies them as less evil than cable companies. More importantly, the Internet has been the fastest growing communications network in the history of the world precisely because it hasn’t really been regulated — at all.
But it doesn’t matter. The lobbyists have won, for now.
The story is not over, however. These mysterious regulations — some of which are being oddly obfuscated by the FCC, are going to be examined by courts and legislators. There will be court challenges, and remember that the FCC has lost all attempts to implement broadband regulation in the past.
As I’ve written in the past, the concept of Net Neutrality is a massive gray area, and really means nothing more than complicated arguments about regulatory authority and jurisdiction. Keep in mind that a Federal court struck down the FCC’s attempt to regulate how Internet traffic was treated in 2010.
You’ve heard enough about what I think, let’s take a look what the great media machine is saying about Net Neutrality:
- FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules Expected to Unleash Cour Challenges (Wall Street Journal).
- Net Neutrality a Reality (CNET)
- Everything You Need to Know about Net Neutrality Now (Washington Post)
- Obama, AT&T, Verizon, Netflix and More React (The Verge)