Unless you have been immersed in the issue from inside the beltway, or are a tech regulation connoisseur, you have probably never heard of “network neutrality” and the current power struggle for control of the Internet in Washington.
Network neutrality, or “net” neutrality, is a principle regarding the management of broadband networks. Basically, it’s how your Internet provider handles all that traffic from users to ensure the webpage you’re trying to view loads.
In an ironic play on words, there is a current battle playing out at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that would put the internet under heavy government regulation, aka government control–precisely the opposite of net neutrality’s literal meaning. This begs the question: How can the expansion of government regulations, and market restrictions, make the internet ‘more free?’
Advocates of net neutrality allegedly want all content to be equally accessible over the Internet and for it to be delivered on demand, at the same speed, whenever you want it. It doesn’t sound half bad when you first hear it. But if you truly think of the internet as a highway and each user as a car, then imagine net neutrality as the equivalent to a holiday traffic jam with the added nuisance of roadway construction all day, every day.
Recently, known socialist “public interest group,” Free Press, has been at the forefront of a campaign of lies claiming that net neutrality would help the consumer. However, there have been multiple studies, including one by New York Law School, that prove net neutrality would hinder investment and cut jobs. Now, how does that help the consumer?
Naturally, Free Press, which was founded by known-Marxist Robert McChesney, and other fringe groups scoff at this data. But where is the evidence to back up their main campaign point that net neutrality would be beneficial? Where is the analysis, the number crunching, the proof? There isn’t any. Yet the Federal Communications Commission seemingly listens to the unsupported claims that these groups are making. It truly is amazing how such a fringe group, which represents a minuscule portion of society, is so heavily influencing public policy in Washington.
A government takeover of the Internet is unnecessary. Until now the FCC has been fully capable of protecting the consumer from discrimination without being the Internet gatekeeper. Under the current system, consumers have enjoyed competition among internet service providers, lower rates than the rest of the world for wireless services, and offerings from innovative new companies blooming in such a lightly regulated environment (Google, ebay, Amazon, etc.). Consumers also continue to experience the benefits of new technologies emerging every day at an explosive rate- just look at the application market and the new devices and services enabled by broadband.
How many more government takeovers are we going to allow to influence our country’s future before we put our collective feet down?
** About the author: Jake Menges served as Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Prior, he ran the political division at National Media, one of the largest Republican media firms in the United States, and worked on dozens of campaign around the country on the state and federal levels. Mr. Menges regularly appears on, “Consultants Corner” a weekly round table panel, on NY-1 news channel. discussing issues of national, state and city importance. **