Thursday, February 26, 2015

FCC Approves Net Neutrality


On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission approved its controversial 332-page net neutrality plan by a 3-2 vote.

From Fox News:
The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday adopted sweeping new regulations sought by President Obama for how Americans use and do business on the Internet, in a party-line vote that is sure to be challenged by the broadband industry.

The commission, following a contentious meeting, voted 3-2 to adopt its so-called net neutrality plan -- a proposal that remained secret in the run-up to the final vote.

On its surface, the plan is aimed at barring service providers from creating paid "fast lanes" on the Internet, which consumer advocates and Internet companies worry would edge out cash-strapped startups and smaller Internet-based businesses. Chairman Tom Wheeler said it would ensure an "open, unfettered network."

Read more....

After the vote, Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai said the plan is a “monumental shift toward government control of the Internet.

“It is sad to witness the FCC’s unprecedented attempt to replace that freedom with government control,” Pai said.

"The Internet is the most powerful and pervasive platform on the planet. It’s simply too important to be left without rules and without a referee on the field.

“Today is a red-letter day for Internet freedom, for consumers who want to use the Internet on their terms, for innovators who want to reach consumers without the control of gatekeepers," FCC Chairman Wheeler said.

President Obama issued a brief written statement after the FCC vote.

"Today's FCC decision will protect innovation and create a level playing field for the next generation of entrepreneurs–and it wouldn't have happened without Americans like you.

"More than 4 million people wrote in to the FCC, overwhelmingly in support of a free and fair internet. Countless others spoke out on social media, petitioned their government, and stood up for what they believe.

"I ran for office because I believed that nothing can stand in the way of millions of voices calling for change. That's the backbone of our democracy–and you've proven that this timeless principle is alive and well in our digital age.

"So to all the people who participated in this conversation, I have a simple message: Thank you," President Obama said.

Once again, the Obama Administration centralizes control over a sector of the economy in Washington, so that politicians and their handmaidens in the regulatory bureaucracy can remind honest, hard-working Americans who is really in charge: the mediocrities who couldn't make it in the private economy, but are good at manipulating elections by lying to people.

If these rules hold, the future of Internet regulation looks like the old Ma Bell monopoly: you could have either a wall-mounted or tabletop phone in Army green or black, and the phone company told you when to be home for installation within the next 30 days. If you missed your appointment, 30 days more.

You gave them a deposit of the first and last month's estimated charges, plus a deposit for the phone. You earned no interest on those deposits; that was the "Ma Bell float."

That world existed just a scant 30 years ago, folks. That's what we get from Washington over-regulation.

Something has to be done by Congress about executive agencies like the FCC, EPA, NLRB and a whole alphabet soup of agencies. With their growth in number and in their powers to regulate various areas of business and even private lives, more and more Congress has relinquished its law making authority. Nowadays Congress passes phonebook sized laws outlining general principles and leaves it to those executive agencies to fill in the details.

That gives those agencies tremendous unintended lawmaking capabilities, sometimes making things up, with Obama setting the example, like nothing the Constitution ever envisioned. Congress needs to correct that and if not the people should call for a Constitutional Convention to restore the principles of limited government and that the people's representatives write the laws, not bureaucrats and political appointees.


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