FCC Commish Ajit Pai Destroys “Net Neutrality” In 3 Easy Points

by William Teach | February 28, 2015 7:19 am

The idea of an open and free Internet is a wonderful thing. In fact, it is something that the United States has led the world in since the web’s inception. Of course, some folks like to create problems where none exist, and think that it is a Good Idea to give the government huge powers to regulate it, in a misguided belief that the companies who run web shouldn’t be allowed to ever throttle bandwith or even require more payment for bandwith hogs. Of course, at the end of the day, those who believe in net neutrality have shown their cards that this isn’t really about any of that, it’s a typical Progressive belief that the Central Government should have more and more power. And Government will use that power. Progressives will surely want that power used against political enemies. They haven’t really considered that the power could be used against themselves. Anyhow…

(Daily Caller[1]) After casting a futile vote against the FCC’s plan to regulate the Internet as a public utility, Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai delivered a blistering attack on the new rules.

In his dissenting statement[2], Pai advanced three main objections to the Commission’s “Open Internet Order:”

1. The Internet has grown rapidly, creating untold economic benefits, largely because the government has refrained from interfering with it.

“For twenty years, there’s been a bipartisan consensus in favor of a free and open Internet … [and] the results speak for themselves. Dating back to the Clinton Administration, every FCC Chairman—Republican and Democrat—has let the Internet grow free from utility-style regulation.”

“But today, the FCC abandons those policies. It reclassifies broadband Internet access service as a Title II telecommunications service. It seizes unilateral authority to regulate Internet conduct, to direct where Internet service providers (ISPs) make their investments, and to determine what service plans will be available to the American public.”

Sure, there have been a few glitches and hiccups during that time, most of which were self correcting. This would give the power to Government, made of people with a political agenda, and following the lead of partisan political appointees, legislators, and Executive Office flacks, possibly including the President. Obviously, nothing could ever go wrong with that, right? The next point per the DC is written strangely

2. Title II regulations attempt to solve problems that don’t exist with enough consistency to address with federal government regulation.

“So the FCC is abandoning a 20-year-old, bipartisan framework for keeping the Internet free and open in favor of Great Depression-era legislation designed to regulate Ma Bell. But at least we’re getting something in return, right? Wrong. The Internet is not broken. There is no problem for the government to solve.”

“Nevertheless, the Order ominously claims that ‘[t]hreats to Internet openness remain today.’ It argues that broadband providers ‘hold all the tools necessary to deceive consumers, degrade content, or disfavor the content that they don’t like,’ and it asserts that the FCC continues ‘to hear concerns about other broadband provider practices involving blocking or degrading third-party applications.’”

“The evidence of these continuing threats? There is none; it’s all anecdote, hypothesis, and hysteria. A small ISP in North Carolina allegedly blocked VoIP calls a decade ago. Comcast capped BitTorrent traffic to ease upload congestion eight years ago. Apple introduced Facetime over Wi-Fi first, cellular networks later. Examples this picayune and stale aren’t enough to tell a coherent story about net neutrality. The bogeyman never had it so easy.”

And, as I mentioned once before, BitTorrent is a website that was abetting the distribution of music and movies illegally, per federal copyright law.

3. Title II regulations will lead to new taxes and slower broadband speeds for consumers.

“Literally nothing in this Order will promote competition among ISPs. To the contrary, reclassifying broadband will drive competitors out of business. Monopoly rules designed for the monopoly era will inevitably move us in the direction of a monopoly. If you liked the Ma Bell monopoly in the 20th century, you’ll love Pa Broadband in the 21st.”

“One avenue for higher bills is the new taxes and fees that will be applied to broadband. If you look at your phone bill, you’ll see a ‘Universal Service Fee,’ or something like it. These fees—what most Americans would call taxes—are paid by Americans on their telephone service.”

The FCC’s net neutrality is as much a head-fake as Obamacare. Remember, the original point of Ocare was to make sure that the 30-45 million without health insurance were able to obtain health insurance at a reasonable cost. When the bill was finally passed, it hugely embedded the Central Government in how not just health insurance works, but the health care industry as well.

Other excerpts from his dissenting letter

But if this Order manages to survive judicial review, these will be the consequences: higher broadband prices, slower speeds, less broadband deployment, less innovation, and fewer options for American consumers. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, President Obama’s plan to regulate the Internet isn’t the solution to a problem. His plan is the problem.

In short, because this Order imposes intrusive government regulations that won’t work to solve a problem that doesn’t exist using legal authority the FCC doesn’t have. I dissent.

A solution in search of a problem that creates more odious problems

Although the Order plainly regulates rates, the plan takes pains to claim that it is not imposing further “ex ante rate regulation.” Of course, that concedes that the new regulatory regime will involve ex post rate regulation. But even the agency’s suggestion that it today “cannot . . . envision” ex ante rate regulations “in this context” says nothing of what a future Commission—perhaps this very Commission—could envision.

In other words, the FCC was saying “trust us”. Because mission creep never ever happens, right?

Commish Pai spends a lot of time discussing the higher taxes that will be coming to go along with the slower speeds and lack of competition. This is apparently what net neutrality believers feel is a “good idea”. Make sure to read the entire letter.

Oh, and we still do not know what is in the 317 pages, because the FCC hasn’t released it yet. They want the Internet transparent, yet not the orders giving the Central Government all this power.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove[3]. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach[4].

  1. Daily Caller: http://dailycaller.com/2015/02/27/net-neutrality-arguments/
  2. In his dissenting statement: http://www.fcc.gov/article/doc-332260a5
  3. Pirate’s Cove: http://www.thepiratescove.us/
  4. @WilliamTeach: http://twitter.com/WilliamTeach

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