One of America's leading authorities on technology and telecom policy, Motley is a writer, television and radio commentator, political and policy strategist, lecturer, debater, activist, and policy advisor to The Heartland Institute.
Latest posts by Seton Motley (see all)
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The Administration’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) again resurrecting Network Neutrality — an all-encompassing Internet usurpation twice unanimously killed by court as an illegal overreach.
Net Neutrality III does in fact acknowledge and allow for a basic economic precept: If you use more, you pay more.
It will allow Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to charge bandwidth hogs like Netflix and Google (owner of YouTube) for the Web-exploding bandwidth they use:
Right now, all of us — including non-Netflix and non-YouTube users — subsidize their massive profit-models. Changing this, of course, upsets them.
This nod to economic reality also has the left rending garments and gnashing teeth in overwrought, overdramatic fashion.
If these leftist bad actors had their way, the government would mandate that gas stations charge the same price for empty Escalades and Escorts.
Their reaction is part knee-jerk response to anything less than total government command-and-control, and part political theater. Their screeching — combined with our reasonable objection to this third attempt at massive government overreach — allows FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to say, See — both sides are angry with me. My proposal must be reasonable.
Hardly. The Chairman has circulated amongst the Commission his Net Neutrality Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) – the first step in a process that so often ends in really bad policy. I spoke — on condition of anonymity — with someone inside the Beast. And the first draft ain’t good.
A caveat: This is a first draft. The final version, once the four Commissioners weigh in, may end up looking dramatically different. But this is Chairman Wheeler left to his own devices — and it ain’t good.
The proposal possesses two over-arching characteristics.
- A preemptive Mother-May-I approach to Internet innovation. Anytime the marketplace develops a new way of doing just about anything, the innovators must first check with the government to see if they can implement it. Fairly command-and-control, is it not? Not exactly a great way to run a constantly evolving, endlessly-faceted World Wide Web.
- A nebulousness to exactly just how far the government’s regulatory reach is. Just what nook or cranny of the private Web — if any — lies beyond the Leviathan’s tentacles?
The order’s lynchpin is how the government will now define “high speed broadband.” It appears to mandate that everyone must be able to simultaneously download multiple movies while watching Game of Thrones and playing Call of Duty with everyone from their graduating class.
And if that ridiculously huge bandwidth demand slows you down ever so slightly — the government won’t consider it “high speed.”
See, the actual law — which the FCC is ignoring by imposing Net Neutrality — allows the government to stick it’s enormous proboscis even further into the Web if there is “market failure.” So the government will absurdly define market “success” — and then claim it’s failing. Then start ratcheting up the regulations.
Remember Obamacare’s nutritional information disclosure requirements? Obamacare Requires 34 Million Pizza Nutrition Signs
The new Net Neutrality order dramatically ramps up the disclosure requirements for ISPs. How? In what forms and fashions? Again, it’s nebulous — and open-ended. If Obamacare’s multi-million menu amendments are anything like a precedent, it isn’t good.
What are the punishments for violating these absurd new regulations? Again — nebulous. And, again — the government’s omni-directional precedents aren’t good.
Think this latest version of Web-sector-choking Net Neutrality won’t provide similarly costly disincentives?
That ain’t nebulous.
[Originally published at Daily Caller]