Like many other government agencies, they seem to have this need to fix something — anything — as if to justify their bureaucratic existence.
Recently, it’s the Federal Communications Commission. The “problem”? Your Internet.
First, to digress a little… Since we all know Al Gore invented the Internet, is this FCC claiming there’s something wrong with Gore’s awesome invention? Tread cautiously, FCC, because it’s proven that everything about Mr. Gore is perfect, especially his hair. In fact, parts of the Internet is probably made up of some of his magnificent mane.
Okay, back to the FCC neutralizing the net…
Our beloved access to the Internet is now classified as a public telecommunications utility (think POTS — that’s “Plain Old Telephone Service” for you Millennials), among other things. This is under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. Yes, that’s a law passed a long, long time ago, but it still applies today. The FCC wants to ensure the Internet remains universally open and accessible to Americans. Also, it wants to stimulate innovation and investments in the networks.
Pardon me, but has it not been that way for decades without government intervention?
You’re probably reading this while sitting on the living room couch not paying it any attention because you’re binge watching House of Cards in the background and simultaneously chatting with mom on FaceTime. Think of all the magic involved: cable/DSL modem, WiFi, HD television, notebook computer, data centers, cloud computing, smartphones, and that’s not even the end of it.
The magic happened because of entrepreneurs, engineers, geeks, hackers, and companies willing to take care of their customers. Really, when was the last time you had trouble getting on the Internet? The last time your broadband went down you tweeted about it from your smartphone over 4G wireless.
And broadband access is more affordable than ever today. By regulating it under Title II, consumers can expect the price to go up. Why? Here are a couple of reasons: 1) The government can now impose regulatory taxes on broadband access, just like it does on telephone service; and 2) Service provider has to recoup the cost of compliance somehow, and guess how that cost is passed down? Compliance will be expensive — just Title II has nearly 700 pages!
So, somebody please return Chairman Wheeler’s AOL dial-up CD immediately! He needs to get online to clear his inbox.