Net Neutrality: “Solution that Won’t Work to a Problem that Doesn’t Exist”

An FCC Commissioner, Ajit Pai, is blasting new net neutrality rules as a “solution that won’t work to a problem that doesn’t exist.” What does he mean by that?

First, concerning the problem that doesn’t exist:

Nowhere in the 332-page document that I’ve received will anyone find the FCC detailing any kind of systemic harm to consumers, and it seems to me that should be the predicate for certainly any kind of preemptive regulation—some kind of systemic problem that requires an industry-wide solution. That simply isn’t here.

Second, concerning the solution that won’t work:

I certainly think there are a lot of markets where consumers want and could use more competition. . . . But these kind of Title II common carrier regulations ironically will be completely counterproductive. It’s going to sweep a lot of these smaller providers away who simply don’t have the ability to comply with all these regulations, and moreover it’s going to deter investment in broadband networks, so ironically enough, this hypothetical problem that people worry about is going to become worse because of the lack of competition.

Right. So, in other words, according to an FCC Commissioner, if you really are worried about net neutrality, the civil government has no actual solution to protect it and no apparent reason to need to protect it. In fact, getting the civil government involved in regulating the internet is probably the fastest way to destroy net neutrality, or what semblance of it we have been enjoying heretofore.

Why does anyone think the civil government would do a better job of this than private companies have? Do we really trust the civil government so much, and distrust private interests so much that we think Uncle Sam will fix things for us? He won’t. The civil government has done nothing recently but father a long series of expensive cock-ups. I’m just waiting for Obama to tell us, “If you like your internet service provider, you can keep your internet service provider.”

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