A number of my friends have asked what I thought of the FCC voting for Net Neutrality. Many people interpret the move to regulate the Internet as a sign of government controls, more regulation, and even stifling innovation. I do not see it that way at all. I am not in favor of more government or regulation, but there are some areas where government should take a leadership role. I am not completely comfortable with the FCC and have agreed with others in the past that we would be better off without an FCC. It is highly unlikely the FCC is going to go away so what should their role be with regard to the Internet?
AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon would be happy to have less regulation except for regulation that helps them increase their hold on us, the consumer. There is not enough competition and prices for broadband are too high. Cities would like to work with Google and others to establish free WiFi as a boost to their local economies and provide more connectivity for education. The lobbyists have gone around the cities and convinced a number of states to make it illegal for a municipality to establish Internet service. In my opinion, that is not right.
Another danger area is content tie-ups. Suppose Comcast and ESPN made a deal together that provided extra fast speed for ESPN content. You could only take advantage of it if you are a Comcast subscriber. More than a third of broadband subscribers have only one choice of a provider. If such fast lanes became pervasive, it is conceivable, some say likely, that the Internet for everyone else would slow down. That would not be good for innovation and the spawning of the next Facebook. Net Neutrality is a good thing for the Internet. Sasha Segan at PC Magazine said, “This isn’t a case of federal government overreach, or of federal government reach at all.” I agree.