Opinion: Senate must stop Obama internet takeover

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2011/09/23/senate-must-stop-obama-interne... ...the Obama administration officially published the Federal Communications Commission... net neutrality rules in the Federal Register. These rules would undo a decade of free-market, hands-off Internet policy...

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dcbii's picture

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On one side, I would agree that the free market should govern what is transmitted on the internet, but in reality, we already don't have that. How many internet providers exist in most areas? There are usually not many to choose from, if there is even more than one, and monopolistic agreements between municipalities and providers often strictly limit the choices. Even if you are still using a modem to connect with a third party provider, that is still subject to control by your phone company (another utility for which you have little or no choice). At that point, allowing the few companies that are privileged to provide service to favor traffic they want over their lines vs. allowing all traffic equally is not free market at all -- it is allowing the company to control what it wants.

If we could get any provider from among a large number of choices that would be able to fully utilize the lines to our homes, then yes, each company could decide what it will transmit and compete on that basis. However, imagine if the power company was given the power to decide which things you could turn on and off, or the phone company refuse to connect you with certain destinations? That is what the net neutrality rules are attempting to prevent. If the provider already has monopolistic power over whether you can get on the internet or not, you don't want them to also have control over which traffic you want to send.

Remember how the long distance market opened up when all providers could equally compete? Each company could charge how it liked, decide what services to offer, etc. No one was locked in. That's real free-market power, and each customer could decide if they wanted a long distance company that for example, did not allow calls to any 900 numbers to help prevent fraud. Until that happens in the internet world, we need net neutrality rules to keep an actual free market for internet traffic.

Dave Barnhart