Based on what you’re reading on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere, the world is coming to an end.
No, not because of tax cuts. Those are only going to kill people. The world will come to an end because FCC Chairman Ajit Pai will do away with rules put in place by the FCC in 2015. Those rules effectively created the net neutrality so many have been seeking for nearly ten years.
The question, naturally, is “Why?”
Damned if I know.
I’ll hand it to those who started the debate. Net neutrality sounds great. “Hey, why shouldn’t the internet be neutral? FREEEEEEDOM!!!”
When you dig deeper, you’ll find the term doesn’t have much meaning. It’s not a legal term, and it came about mainly because some people began hyping the notion ISP’s were going to try and corner the market and take over the internet and price it according to their whims and desires. The result would be content providers having to charge consumers exorbitant amounts of money for access.
If you search the hashtag #NetNeutrality on Twitter today, you’ll see ridiculous examples of people claiming we’ll be paying for access to Twitter and Facebook as well as paying a fee to stream each movie we want to watch on Netflix as opposed to a flat monthly fee. Imagine Dr. Venkman, from Ghostbusters: “Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together…..mass hysteria!”
Except it’s all overblown poppycock.
Just think about this for a moment. President Obama took the internet, which blossomed between 2000 and 2015, creating an environment where people could do almost anything online and do it with super fast speeds at relatively low prices. Along comes the government savior, telling us the best thing for consumers is to subject the internet to rules under a law from 1934, created at a time when people couldn’t make a phone call without the use of two hands.
There’s no reason to get into the amazingly dull legal details of why the Obama administration did this. Let’s just say they tried in 2010 to regulate the internet one way under FCC rules. The Supreme Court said, “Sorry, dude. Only Congress can do that.” Obama and his flunkies went back to the drawing board and five years later (by which time, the internet continued to flourish as did content providers and ISP’s) they got the bright idea to regulate the internet as a utility. They did so under antiquated rules that make it easy to impose taxes — oops — fees that would no doubt be passed on to consumers (just like mobile phone carriers do).
The rules were put in place to solve a problem that didn’t exist.
That is the bottom line. People cannot tell you why the rules were necessary. They can only offer hypotheticals as to why the rules are necessary. But that’s like a cop pulling over a person with a new sports car and writing them a ticket because they might drive 125 mph in a 70 mph zone two weeks from that moment.
The internet didn’t require the nanny state before 2015. The system thrived in a competitive environment. People have so many choices in determining what content they want to watch and how they want it delivered. Everybody benefits. Everybody will continue to benefit once the rules get lifted.
If the ISP’s do what the fearmongers claim, then the government can deal with it if necessary. Until then, sit back, relax and enjoy.