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.
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Net Neutrality remains an omni-directional terrible idea.
Here in the United States, Net Neutrality exponentially increases the government’s ability to tax the Internet. Starting with the 17.4% Universal Service Fund (USF) tax. Which goes up automatically every calendar quarter. And goes up each and every time three unelected Federal Communications Commission (FCC) bureaucrats decide they want more of our coin. Which they just did in December –with a 17.1% rate increase.
Net Neutrality exponentially increases the government’s regulatory role –creating a Government-May-I approach to all things innovation. If you’re an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and want to try something new – the Overlord must first wave his scepter and deem it allowed.
Unfortunately, this stupidity isn’t limited to just us.
Over the last couple of weeks, the net neutrality debate has picked up pace thanks to…Airtel Zero which will let app developers pay data charges of customers, so long as they are using the developer’s app.
There is so much Economics 101 in that one sentence. Net Neutrality denies all of it.
How is preventing consumers from getting free stuff pro-consumer? And why should it be outlawed on the Net – when it’s a ceaselessly recurring staple in every other sector of the economy?
800 numbers are free for the consumer – paid for by the companies consumers reach by dialing them. How is that any different on the Net – where bandwidth hog companies should absolutely be able to pick up the tab for their customers? Answer – it’s not. It’s exactly the same.
The pro-Net Neutrality argument is “You’ve already paid for Internet service – the ISP shouldn’t ‘double-dip’ by charging the bandwidth hogs.”
Well, you’ve already paid for your phone service – yet the phone company is allowed to “double-dip”by charging the 800-number-providing companies.
In fact, government-mandated-“Neutrality”is exponentially dumber on the Internet – because the bandwidth-volume is exponentially greater and more expensive than is the phone-call-volume.
800 numbers make things cheaper for the consumer – thus they are pro-consumer. Mandating that consumers pick up the entire tab for Web Goliaths like Google, Netflix and Facebook – even if they don’t use Google, Netflix and/or Facebook – is decidedly anti-consumer.
There are only two sets of people ISPs can charge for the incredibly-expensive-costs of building bandwidth ($1.3 trillion domestically since 1996) – bandwidth hog companies, and us.
Net Neutrality mandates that bandwidth hog companies never be charged anything ever – no matter how much bandwidth they use.
Imagine Fuel Neutrality. Where the government mandates that 18-wheel tractor trailers (whose owners just so happen to donate huge to Democrats) not be charged to fill up at the pump. That necessarily skyrockets gas prices for the rest of us in our little cars – because the stations have to make up that huge money somewhere.
Bandwidth-wise, the likes of Google, Netflix and Facebook drive fleets and fleets and FLEETS of Web 18-wheelers. Netflix and Google’s YouTube – all by their lonesomes – are more than half of all U.S. Internet traffic.
Net Neutrality says they can’t be charged for it – no matter what. Which allows them to pour more money into their businesses. Growing further still their bandwidth footprint – and thus their crony price-free advantage. Lather, rinse, repeat….
So the prices we pay will necessarily skyrocket – to augment the profits of these Democrat donors.
How stupid is that?
Seven companies have already sued to undo our domestic Net Neutrality heinousness. Even more may follow suit (see what I did there?).
Here’s hoping India can kill it before it gets anywhere near that far.
[Originally published at Human Events]