The Net Neutrality Zombie Lives! Congress Should Kill It Off

Internet: The Senate has voted to raise net neutrality from the dead, a very bad idea. Worse, the 52-47 margin of victory included three Republicans who should know better. We hope it dies in the House.


“Net neutrality” is one of those brilliant marketing gimmicks that passes as something that enhances equality and freedom, but in fact destroys it.

President Obama’s Federal Communications Commission in 2015 imposed net neutrality, requiring internet service providers to treat all internet traffic the same. Sure, that sounds good, even democratic, but it isn’t. In fact, most economists agree, it will lead to slower times for everything, less internet innovation and, ultimately, higher prices for consumers.

That’s a good idea?

Thankfully, late last year, Trump’s FCC under Chairman Ajit Pai let common sense prevail and overturned net neutrality. Like a zombie, it’s now returned, thanks to foolish politicians who think Washington, not the marketplace, should decide how the internet is run, what prices they can charge, and what services they can provide. Heavy-handed regulation at its worst.

Last week, 49 Senate Democrats and three Republicans passed what’s called a “resolution of disapproval,” which will let Congress reimpose net neutrality, if both houses agree. It’s a bad idea for a number of reasons.

One, the internet’s astonishing record of innovation and advancement — including making the leap from crude dial-up internet services to full-on streaming of movies, games, information, graphics and other content — took place during the non-net neutrality era. It’s no accident.

Yes, ISPs treat a movie you’re streaming differently from a text you’re downloading. But that’s only common sense. To give both the exact same priority would make it nearly impossible to have, say, high quality movie streaming on Netflix or Amazon. Do you really want to give that up?

Two, net neutrality rules keep internet service companies from figuring out how best to use their networks and what prices they should charge for their services. In essence, they impose price and content controls on the internet, discouraging future investment.

What net neutrality does is reimpose the kinds of innovation-stifling regulations on the internet that were imposed on the Ma Bell phone network for decades. Those telephone regulations led to decades of stifled innovation, high prices and poor service, until the regulated monopoly was broken up by court order in 1982.

The dead hand of government regulation will not promote competition, better services or lower prices. That only happens when market participants can respond to market demand and price their services accordingly. The House is expected to reject the bill, and we urge them to do so. If not, President Trump should veto it.


A Tale Of Two Decisions: Trump Administration Got Antitrust Wrong, But Net Neutrality Right 

Net Neutrality Zealots Are Wrong — The Market Just Proved It

Ajit Pai’s Personal Hell, Our National Media’s Failure

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Originally posted 2019-09-19 23:14:42.


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