The truth of ‘net neutrality’ and Obama’s Internet takeover
by Ben Crystal
The deadline for this column fell before the Federal Communications Commission’s historic vote on so-called “net neutrality.” However, barring an unforeseen “global warming” catastrophe, the Democrat-dominated, yet supposedly independent-by-statute, regulatory agency will have voted, probably 3-2, that the federal government should envelop the Internet in its smothering embrace. In a world where the Internet is freely and easily employed by everyone from President Barack Obama to the lowliest jihadi warming the bench for the “junior varsity” Islamic State, the Democrats have decided that they need to step in, lest “@AkbarUlulates4Allah” has to wait an extra millisecond to post to his Twitter feed.
Through a misinformation campaign conducted with almost breathless expertise, Obama, backed by groups funded by nearly $200 million of George Soros and Ford Foundation resolve, has managed to convince an inordinate number of Americans that a lack of so-called “net neutrality” will result in evil, faceless telecom companies forcing you to wait hours to upload the family Kwanzaa pics to Instagram, while evil, faceless telecom executives can log on to evilfacelesstelecom.com in the blink of an eye. Of course, anyone who is reading this is rolling down the information superhighway at speeds that were unimaginable just a few years ago. Those speeds, which would presumably continue to improve on the same curve they’ve followed since the days of AOL dial-up, are possible only because of the continued improvements made by the same companies that are now being accused of throttling the life out of the Web. As FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai noted earlier this week, net neutrality is “a solution that won’t work to a problem that doesn’t exist.”
“Net neutrality” isn’t what you think it is. It won’t “level the playing field.” It will introduce government regulation to a nearly flawless model of free-market growth. Telecom giants like AT&T and Verizon and content providers like Netflix push an almost geometrically higher amount of traffic onto broadband than they accept. As a result, the broadband providers have responded by raising rates and/or lowering speeds (aka “slow-laning”) some content. Essentially, monster telecoms and content providers — Netflix is the most famous example — are demanding first-class seating in a 747 while paying jump seat-in-a-Piper prices. And they’ve managed to convince millions of people — not to mention the Democratic Party — that they’re the proverbial little guy, standing up to the corporate fat cats. Having successfully played themselves into the hearts and minds of every selfie-posting hipster from Brooklyn to Berkeley, they’ve further pushed the idea that the FCC should force the broadband providers to adhere to a federally structured framework of service and fees. Gigantic content delivery networks (CDNs) will now be able to dictate the terms of their agreements to broadband providers upon pain of civil — or even criminal –prosecution.
Think of it this way:
You run a courier service. You charge customers a rate to run documents across town. As often as not, those documents need to be signed and returned — also a part of your service.
One day, one of your customers, a massive operation many times the size of your company, adds something to the outgoing deliveries. But it’s not a letter; it’s a package weighing close to 20 pounds. The next week, you deliver a few files; the massive operation sends out a filing cabinet’s worth, then a storeroom’s worth and then a warehouse’s worth. All this time, you’re using the same delivery vehicle. As the customer’s outgoing load increases in volume, your delivery times begin to lag. The customer immediately complains. Your slower delivery times are causing its customers headaches. You inform the customer that in order for you to prioritize its increasingly large deliveries — which are also increasingly larger compared to its incoming service — you’re going to have to buy a bigger truck. In order to do so, you’ll have to raise its rate. The only alternative is slower delivery times, a consequence of its (ab)usage.
Rather than either agree to contend with slower — but still extremely quick — deliveries, buying its own vehicles and handling its own courier needs, or paying a higher fee, your customer joins with some of your other heavyweight customers and a consortium of exceptionally well-funded and tax-exempt activist groups to lobby the government to declare your courier “common carriage,” set your fee schedule to benefit the customer and threaten you with fines — or worse — if you fail to comply. And their push is effective, because the top regulator for your industry used to be one of their lobbyists.
Six months later, you’re out of business; and the customer ends up signing with UPS, which had the resources to move in and grab up the local business after “courier neutrality” stomped it out of existence — for a much higher rate anyway.
Or, think of it this way:
That is “net neutrality.” It’s the ultimate globalist fantasy: corporations and government working together to dictate the flow of a vital resource. in this case, it’s the most vital resource of all: information. By the time this is published, the FCC, chaired by former telecom lobbyist and Obama campaign flack Tom Wheeler, will have voted its version of net neutrality in regulatory existence. Consequentially, and only consequentially, the public will finally have access to the somewhere between 300 and 350 pages that comprise the misleadingly monikered bureaucratic monstrosity. Prior to the vote, Wheeler, who was appointed to his position by Obama, stubbornly refused to allow the public access to Obama’s vision of “free and open.” Furthermore, he refused to discuss it publicly with the people’s elected representatives in Congress. In fact, Obama-by-Wheeler refused to let anyone other than Internet superpowers like Google, which reportedly exerted direct control over some of the final language, see this magical Internet takeover plan until after it was approved without congressional or public oversight. Of course, we all remember how well “pass it to see what’s in it” worked out for us last time.
Net neutrality as imagined by Obama and Wheeler will not result in faster Internet speeds, an expansion of Internet service provider choices available to home consumers, a lowering of fees or even a reduction of lag times for those of you playing “Call of Duty” online. It will add government oversight where it is neither needed nor wanted. In actuality, by reclassifying the Internet under Title II of the Communications Act, net neutrality will add little more to your online experience beyond added fees (federal “common carrier” status always includes federal taxes). Down the road, those taxes fees will indubitably increase, as will government involvement with content. Ultimately, we’ll end up with the Ministry of Information issuing “blogging licenses.” But hey, at least you won’t have to deal with buffering the next time you watch “House of Cards” on Netflix.