“The bottom line is that our regulatory framework will both protect the free and open internet and deliver more digital opportunity to more Americans. It’s worked before and it will work again.”
Remember when the FCC repealed net neutrality last December? Net neutrality supporters went into hyperbole-overload. Some even spewed racial slurs at FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and stalked his house. You would’ve thought the world, or at the least, the internet would end.
The FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order went into effect today, June 11, and…the internet is still working. The world is still turning.
So why should we relish the fact that net neutrality no longer exists?
Net neutrality sounds like a good thing, based on the innocuous name (it’s neutral!) Under net neutrality, ISPs (internet service providers) were required to treat all traffic the same.
But what sounded like an equitable way to splice up the internet backfired.
Since net neutrality was implemented in 2015 it caused investment in broadband networks to drop “more than 5.6%.” The regulation punished the small internet service providers because “[T]hey don’t have the time, money or lawyers to cut through a thicket of complex rules.” Those same rules made companies hesitate when it came to introducing new services due to fear of non-compliance. Last May, Pai heard from 19 municipal internet service providers (city-owned nonprofits) that had to “often delay or hold off from rolling out a new feature or service because we cannot afford to deal with a potential complaint and enforcement action.”
One thing I love about Pai is his understanding and appreciation for the market. If people would stop meddling with markets, more than likely everything would work itself out. This applies to the digital world as well.
Believe it or not, the FCC will still protect consumers and the end of net neutrality may actually give birth to a BETTER internet.
Pai has been all over the news today reminding people that he’s not the devil and has actually done us a YUGE favor. In his op-ed at CNET, Pai reminded people that net neutrality stripped the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) “of its authority over internet service providers.”
Without net neutrality, the FTC now has the ability to protect consumers when it comes to the internet.
TRANSPARENCY. Both sides love to tout transparency, but few ever fully embrace it like Pai:
Transparency is also a critical part of our framework. In the Restoring Internet Freedom Order, the FCC strengthened its transparency rule so that internet service providers must make public more information about their network management practices. They are required to make this information available either on their own website or on the FCC’s website. This information will allow consumers to make an informed decision about which internet service provider is best for them and give entrepreneurs the information they need as they develop new products and services. Our transparency rule will also help ensure that any problematic conduct by internet service providers is quickly identified and corrected.
Why am I confident that this approach will work? Because it was a tremendous bipartisan success for two decades. At the dawn of the commercial internet, President Clinton and a Republican Congress agreed on a light-touch framework to regulating the internet. Under that approach, the internet was open and free. Network investment topped $1.5 trillion. Netflix, Facebook, Amazon, and Google went from small startups to global tech giants. America’s internet economy became the envy in the world.
In other words, there was no good reason to implement net neutrality because the ISPs “had not engaged in any of the practices the rules prohibited.”
Less regulation means the chance to build a better product. Look at the tax bill Congress and President Donald Trump passed. I have a lot of problems with the long-term effects of the bill, but the short-term effects have helped so many people.
With the cuts, companies keep more profits. Any reasonable person would assume that those in charge would either give more money to the employees and/or pour more money into the company to develop better products and expand, thus creating more jobs. Bloomberg released data last month that shows 130 companies in the S&P 500 have increased capital spending by 39%, which is the fastest rate in seven years, while returns to shareholders have only grown by 16%.
The same thing should happen with internet service providers, especially the smaller ones that so many insisted net neutrality protected. The FCC wrote that “more than 80% of small fixed wireless companies that generally operate in rural America ‘incurred additional expense in complying with the Title II rules, had delayed or reduced network expansion, had delayed or reduced services and had allocated budget to comply with the rules.'”
So forget about net neutrality. As Pai wrote:
The bottom line is that our regulatory framework will both protect the free and open internet and deliver more digital opportunity to more Americans. It’s worked before and it will work again. Our goal is simple: better, faster, cheaper internet access for American consumers who are in control of their own online experience. And that’s what the FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order will deliver.
If the apocalyptic predictions from the net neutrality supporters come true then I will be the first to admit I was wrong.
Until then, enjoy your internet, which is the same internet you had yesterday.DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.