I think the internet is going to catch on . . . But, with pending regulation, perhaps not in ways it would otherwise.
Today’s But if Not is a paraphrased quote to whom I don’t know to attribute:
The two greatest threats to capitalism are regulators and the capitalists.
Today the FCC is preparing to vote on “Net Neutrality” a federal regulation of the internet. As surely as the sun comes up, this is a bootleggers and baptists dilemma. The established infrastructure businesses are quietly cozying up to the regulators to ensconce into the federal code their market position and erect barriers to entry for future competitors. Meanwhile, the smart people have thought themselves into a corner again.
Robert McDowell, a Republican FCC commissioner, has an article in the Wall Street Journal that covers the scope of the questions and the history of Net Neutrality consideration
Nothing is broken that needs fixing, however. The Internet has been open and freedom-enhancing since it was spun off from a government research project in the early 1990s. Its nature as a diffuse and dynamic global network of networks defies top-down authority. Ample laws to protect consumers already exist. Furthermore, the Obama Justice Department and the European Commission both decided this year that net-neutrality regulation was unnecessary and might deter investment in next-generation Internet technology and infrastructure
Meredith Attwell Baker, a Republican FCC commissioner as well, has her own article in the Washington Post.
The rules will give government, for the first time, a substantive role in how the Internet will be operated and managed, how broadband services will be priced and structured, and potentially how broadband networks will be financed. By replacing market forces and technological solutions with bureaucratic oversight, we may see an Internet future not quite as bright as we need, with less investment, less innovation and more congestion.
Similarly, the Feds regulate and mandate a “universal Connectivity Charge” on cell service, ostensibly to provide coverage in rural areas to low-income people. Other than raise revenue for the Feds and make cell service more expensive for all, what problem is this solving? Cell service is available nearly everywhere and at very affordable costs, no thanks to the regulation.
Keep your hands off my internet.