Net Neutrality has become a hot topic the last few weeks. To hear our the Progressives and the Obama administration, one would think we are in fear of losing our freedom on the internet.
I am at once reminded of a statement Ronald Regan made; “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m here from the government, and I’m here to help.”
It certainly fits in this case. But what is the real-deal as it were?
Let’s go back to 8/5/2005 when the FCC issued its policy statement regarding the Internet. It was a simple 4 point statement.
What is a policy statement? It is a set of guiding principles on which regulations are or will be based. So they say. Interestingly enough the FCC stated in this release:
“The Federal Communications Commission today adopted a policy statement that outlines four principles to encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of public Internet:”
The FCC stated the internet was open, but they ‘want to help.’ Typical government response- action where no action is required.
This policy statement came on the heels of a speech given by FCC chair Michael K. Powell.
During the speech Powell warned;
“Based on what we currently know, the case for government imposed regulations regarding the use or provision of broadband content, applications and devices is unconvincing and speculative.”
Back then Net Neutrality was also referred to as Net Freedom, which is the verbiage Powell used.
So there was no problem then, but there is now?
One would begin to get the impression the problem was not on the side of the ISP’s (internet service providers), but with the governments frustration over lack of being able to control the internet. The government saw ‘gold in them thar hills.’
Fast Forward to 2010. Then FCC chair, Julius Genachowski, adopts and issues his own policy statement.
Once again it was acknowledged: “This process has made clear that the Internet has thrived because of its freedom and openness”
But with the government’s appetite for control, this was no longer good enough, more control was needed to control growing threats to those freedoms. Even though those threats didn’t exist.
Genachowski contended: “The record and our economic analysis demonstrate, however, that the openness of the Internet cannot be taken for granted, and that it faces real threats.”
What record? Whose economic analysis?
The only record I’ve been able to find is a lawsuit brought against Comcast by the FCC.
FCC vs Comcast 8/2008
“the FCC, on August 1, 2008, ruled that Comcast Corp., a provider of Internet access over cable lines, violated the FCC’s policy statement when it selectively blocked peer-to-peer connections in an attempt to manage its traffic.”
Turns out Comcast was limiting peer-to-peer content because of a congestion problem. The FCC didn’t like the way Comcast implemented the remedy. Comcast voluntarily complied and changed its policy:
“Comcast no longer manages congestion by focusing on specific applications (such as peer-to-peer), nor by focusing on online activities, or protocols, but identifies individual users within congested neighborhoods that are using large amounts of bandwidth in real time and slows them down, by placing them in a lower priority category, for short periods,”
The FCC could do nothing other than use the court to coerce cooperation from Comcast. They lacked legislative authority to do little else. Which is a glimpse of things to come – government control of the internet using coercion as a weapon.
This didn’t sit well with Genachowski and to make matters worse,
Comcast then sued the FCC, and won – on the grounds the FCC lacked authority to impose any demands, hence the need, according to Genachowski, for more stringent and specific controls on the Internet.
A battle political battle was being waged behind the scenes.
The 2010 FCC Commission’s Policy Statement was not unanimous;
Chairman Genachowski issuing a statement;
Commissioner Copps concurring and issuing a statement;
Commissioner Clyburn approving in part, concurring in part and issuing a statement;
Commissioners McDowell and Baker dissenting and issuing separate statements.
The 5 member board, voted strictly along party lines (3 Obama appointee’s Liberal Democrats in favor, and 2 Republicans dissenting).
The by-partisanship of the 2005 FCC order was no more, replaced by a more aggressive and controlling one.
This is the real motive to press forward with Net Neutrality legislation, the government didn’t have enough control over the net. Far different than the reasons laid down by the FCC and the Obama administration.
In a published statement; “The FCC adopted, on December 21, 2010, an Open Internet Order establishing rules to govern the network management practices of broadband Internet access providers.”
Strangely, this policy was already in force 2 days before the 2010 Policy Statement (which was issued Dec 23rd), not to mention it came at a time when the Congress was in recess. So much for open regulation.
The work of serious internet control began in 2009 with the appointment of Julius Genachowski to FCC chair. Who is this person? According to Wikipedia.
“He was a Notes Editor at the Harvard Law Review when his classmate Barack Obama was its president.”
“For Senator Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential Campaign, Genachowski was Chairperson of the Technology, Media and Telecommunications Policy Working Group, which created the Obama Technology and Innovation Plan. He also advised and guided the Campaign’s innovative use of technology and the Internet for grassroots engagement and participation.”
The new FCC head was conveniently experienced in manipulating the internet for political gain and many consider his media campaign the reason for the rise and success of Barrack Obama. Obama became the first internet born political cult hero.
Genachowski understood what a weapon the internet could be, if his side could control it.
Anyway, Genachowski got the ball rolling- in his speech at the Brookings Institute where he suggested “that this (Net Neutrality) be accomplished through a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPR) process.”
Even though the FCC sights the Comcast case as a key component of the reasoning for Net Neutrality- Comcast did nothing wrong – they simply imposed specific bandwidth limits periodically to relieve a congestion problem.
The FCC sighting the Comcast case as a major reason for the need of Net Neutrality intends to lead people to the false conclusion it will relieve internet traffic problems. It will not. It will only create more legislative nightmares for ISP’s (Internet Service Providers), more legislation and oversight creates the need for more government revenue. Hence more taxes.
More taxes, the internet just became more expensive, to those who actually have to pay for what they get.
The FCC and the Obama admin suggests the internet should be run as a public utility like the power company. It cannot. This has already been tried with the Phone Company, and television. Both times government control, once instituted, damaged both industries so badly the only hope for their survival came after they were put back in the hands of private enterprise.
The implication of government protection of the internet creates the false belief everyone will have the same level of internet speed, performance, and cost. It won’t.
Those on DSL will still have DSL speed. Those on cable will have cable speed, and so on. The cost of internet access in your area will still depend on the physical equipment available, and the service provided by your ISP.
The adoption of the FCC 2010 Open Internet Order on Dec 21, 2010 marked the official beginning of the assault on true Net Neutrality.
Of note in the adoption of this order, all of the 4 points included “fixed and mobile broadband Internet service providers.”
The key addition is the word ‘mobile.’
It is apparent the internet is so well established, any efforts the FCC can use to control its content, other than bully and intimidate the ISP’s, which they know will be a long and expensive battle. The government realizes they need those greedy capitalist ISP’s, even though they would like to control them outright, so they can continue to provide free internet service to the welfare community. Hello!
It is evident everything internet is going mobile. Mobile communications is rapidly becoming the new internet provider and the FCC finds itself lacking the legislated authority to impose controls over access and content. They don’t want to suffer another Waterloo like the Comcast fiasco.
The 2010 order went into effect November 20, 2011.
Verizon challenged the 2010 Rule and won a partial victory, which exposed a gap in the government’s desired control of the internet and the mobile internet- the court decided there was a difference in mobile internet communications and hard-wired internet access. Which forced the FCC to sharpen its pencil again in 2014.
The FCC response: “Chairman Wheeler proposed that the FCC establish new rules.”
More rules, more regulation, more government control. Have the ISP’s become evil and ruthless since 2005? No. The ISP’s have become more competitive, and more efficient, providing broader bandwidth than could even be dreamed of in 2005, and a lower cost, which is Net Neutrality in action. The result of free enterprise. The same formula which made the internet successful and neutral.
But government control was not to be deterred.
“On May 15, 2014, the FCC adopted, by a 3-2 party line vote, a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) seeking public comment on “how best to protect and promote an open Internet.””
In an effort to close the gap between hard-wired and mobile internet regulation, “President Obama, in a statement released on November 10, 2014, urged the FCC to establish rules that would reclassify consumer broadband service.”
The progressive way – reclassify – or outright change the name of something to better suit their propaganda machine.
The government advertised version of Net Neutrality is far different than the real version of Net Neutrality.
If Net Neutrality is so open and so important, why has the 300 page book of the new regulations been kept from public view? Is this another case where “we have to pass it before we know what’s in it?”
The new rules and regulations are currently under debate in the 2015 Congress. It is imperative to contact your representatives and tell them you want the internet to remain neutral, as it is now. The best way to insure true Net Neutrality is to allow the free enterprise system to continue to operate. Net Neutrality exists today because of free enterprise. There is no need to impose more government control over it.
Your freedom of speech on the internet is at stake.