Friday, October 23, 2009

Government takeover of the Internet: Step 1 Regulate

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted unanimously yesterday to move toward government regulation of the internet.  On the implausible pretext of keeping the internet open for everyone, the FCC would substitute its bureaucratic political judgment for market-and reality-driven business decisions. Via the Washington Times
The Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously Thursday to move toward new rules to prevent corporate Internet providers from charging online powers such as Google Inc. and Inc. extra for the large amount of infrastructure and bandwidth they use in delivering their services.
If this sounds familiar, it should.  The Obama administration wants to control the price of labor, executive compensation, mortgages, gasoline, and housing.  Why should internet service providers (ISP's) be spared?

The commissioners claim to be worried about alleged incidents of throttling, slowing or blocking access to certain internet sites.  From the Washington Times:

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, appointed by President Obama, said he was concerned about reports of some Internet providers slowing or blocking access to certain online companies.

"The heart of the problem is that, taken together, we face the dangerous combination of an uncertain legal framework with ongoing as well as emerging challenges to a free and open Internet," Mr. Genachowski said.

He added that failing to consider new regulations "would be gambling with the most important technological innovation of our time."
Is it unreasonable to expect that internet communications companies will actively manage network traffic to maximize customer satisfaction and market share?  Do the commissioners think that bandwidth is unlimited and free?  Do they even know what bandwidth is?  I'll wager that most of them wouldn't know how to reset a modem.

In a legislative attempt to put the brakes on yet another government takeover, Senator John McCain introduced the Internet Freedom Act of 2009 yesterday.  According to the text of the McCain bill, the FCC "shall not propose, promulgate, or issue any regulations regarding the Internet or IP-enabled services."

I actually like the sound of that.

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