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February 26, 2015

Here Comes ‘Net Neutrality’

As expected, the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday approved so-called net neutrality rules. Fox News reports, “[T]he rules, more broadly, would put the Internet in the same regulatory camp as the telephone by classifying it like a public utility, meaning providers like Comcast or Verizon would have to act in the ‘public interest’ when providing [an Internet] connection to your home or phone. Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai, who delivered some of the most scathing criticism of the plan Thursday, warned the policy represents a ‘monumental shift’ to ‘government control of the Internet.’” Pai also criticized FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler for his secrecy and the length of the “332-page Internet regulation plan.” According to FCC counsel Gigi Sohn, however, only eight of those pages contain actual regulation – the rest is supporting documentation. Clearly this is not a black-and-white subject, and the jury is still out on whether the FCC’s ruling will do more good than harm, but that’s mostly because it doesn’t go to the crux of the problem, which is lack of competition. The FCC’s action won’t create more of it. Indeed, it’s not at all clear it will usher in a neutral net. What is clear, however, is that the greatest invention since Gutenberg’s printing press will now be regulated by a bureaucracy that still struggles to build a functioning website. More…

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