Do you remember the last time you had an issue with your internet connection and the federal government cheerfully helped you resolve it? Me neither. Yet the same federal government who spent $2 billion on a website that was more likely to dish out electric shocks than work properly is now literally in control of our nation’s internet, under the false rubric of promoting “net neutrality.”
Since 1996, the internet had been designated as “information services” and left unregulated. But under the Obama administration’s 2015 FCC order, the internet was redefined as a “common carrier,” putting it under the thumb of Title II of the 1934 Communications Act, the Depression-era law that kept our nation’s telegraphs and rotary phones humming.
The core concepts of true net neutrality are simple. They include no blocking of information or resources, no intentional slowing or reduction in available bandwidth, no “pay to play” allocation of higher speeds, and protection of consumers’ online privacy. There’s broad agreement on these principles, the crucial difference is how we enforce them.
The open, fair, and innovative internet we’ve all come to rely on got where it is today through market forces, not government oversight and regulation. It was consumers who sorted out the winners (Facebook, Mozilla, Google) from the losers (MySpace, Netscape, Pets.com) and that’s exactly as it should be. The internet has worked because it remained largely a democratic free-market, unsullied by an overarching government scheme.