Net Neutrality Madness

Big Red Car here. Well, The Boss survived his birthday but it was a close call.

So the Big Red Car is totally confused as to the prospect of “net neutrality” and like most things involved with the issuance of government regulations, the Big Red Car does not trust the government to tell the truth.

Net neutrality madness is upon us.

Let’s start with the punchline — The Federal Communications Commission is going to vote to adopt 330+ pages of Internet regulations without ever allowing the public to see them. This is truly madness and violates every precept of lawmaking imaginable.

FCC To Regulate the Internet

Yes, the FCC is going to regulate an entire industry without letting their regulations see the light of day before they vote. No public comment before the vote.

Does this not strike you as madness? Net neutrality madness?

No public debate or input — not quite true as the Chairman of the FCC, Tom Wheeler former lobbyist for the cable industry, has allowed lots of lobbyists to weigh in on the subject and the drafting of the rules.

The only part of the public involved in these regulations has been those kindred lobbyists whose dance cards are filled out by Chairman Wheeler. Chairman Wheeler, the former cable lobbyist. The same cable companies who provide Internet access to you and me.

The Big Red Car would be remiss if he didn’t mention the “T” word — taxes.

Stating the obvious — every industry ever regulated by the US government has been taxed and taxed and taxed. These new regulations will enact taxes to pay for the regulations and their enforcement. Do you see the cycle developing here?

Government regulations always pick winners and losers. That is what regulations always do. If you do not get a seat at the table, I can assure you of one thing — YOU will not be one of the winners.

You can hope to be an innocent bystander who is not killed as the gunfire passes you. You can hope to be wounded but not grievously. You will not be one of the victors because you don’t have any high powered lobbyists in Washington putting their fingerprints on these hidden and secret regulations.

What we are left with is this:

1. The government intends to regulate the Internet as if it were a utility company — Title II Telecommunications Act of 1996. You are among a fairly large crowd if you question that assumption. Twice courts have ruled against that premise.

2. The rules will be passed in secret with no public debate and no public input. You cannot read the freakin’ rules before they are to be adopted. Why? Why does anyone do anything in secret when it comes to enacting regulations? Why? Is this not the “most transparent administration in history”?

3. The rules were written by lobbyists and Chairman Wheeler himself was a cable industry lobbyist. That’s comforting, no?

4. The rules will include new taxes and the opportunity to grow those taxes — think air travel, gasoline, telecom type taxes. All the product of rule making by an administrative body not taxes enacted by Congress. And who will pay those taxes?

5. No body of government regulations has ever driven growth. Regulations always impede growth. You want Internet speed? Good luck while dragging 330+ pages of regulations along with you.

6. The decision to regulate the Internet like a utility is a product of this Chairman and this administration — it wasn’t broken. It was working just fine. The market was sorting things out. The Big Red Car has 1 Gig service for less than he was paying for 60 meg service. Wow! Austin Texas has four providers of 1 Gig service.

There are great number of subtleties involved in the debate and the Big Red Car is not taking a side against or for anything other than this — nothing good ever comes from allowing the government to enact regulations in secret, without public debate, at the hands of lobbyists and to impose new taxes.

This is typical politics. I am tempted to brand this as Democrat politics and that description is fair but it is really not about party politics. It is all about the economy and the stifling of innovation.

This is going to end poorly for the economy, technology, the Internet and the public. The lobbyists will do just fine. The companies who employ lobbyists will do just fine. Government needs to get out of the business of picking winners in secret. This is net neutrality madness.

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car. Be good to yourself and enjoy the blazing fast Internet while it lasts.




6 thoughts on “Net Neutrality Madness

  1. Our friends in the tech industry are on the opposite side of this issue. I empathize with their concern over monopoly of the last mile-meaning the delivery of internet into the home. What happens to Comcast with unbundling of TV? I’d prefer to see the govt figure out ways to massively increase competition.

    • .
      Let me be very careful — this blog post does not pick a fight with anyone as it relates to the last mile or the degree of competition. It suggests only that rules made in secret are typically made so because they cannot stand the light of day.

      There is no instance I can think of wherein the government has ever massively increased competition — while there are innumerable instances of government anointing winners while quashing losers.

      There are a number of instances wherein the government has force fed entire industries to create artificial winners when the market was putting nails in their coffins. The Stimulus is filled with money wasted wholesale on such things as Solyndra.

      The government is trying to jam the Internet under Title II of the 1996 Telecom Act, in part, because it has taxing authority that could never make it through the Republican Congress today. No mistake about that.

      In ATX, I have four choices for 1 Gig service. I pay less for 1 Gig than I did for its predecessor 65 Meg service. At my house, the last mile is not only not broken — it is screaming, rocking and rolling.

      I know it’s Austin by God Texas and we are amongst the Tech Illuminati. I get that. But it starts here and spreads out.

      I cannot embrace anything that is done as it relates to regulations and taxes when it is done in secret.


      • I agree with the fact that government never creates competition. I should have been more clear. They should have done nothing aggressive on this issue, and said they will watch it. Interestingly, Mr. Market said this was a good deal for Comcast and the Telcos. I don’t think the tech people thought that would happen

        • .
          People who employ lobbyists and have deep pockets are always in favor of regulation. It provides the vehicle for their wickedness over the long run.

          If they don’t get what they want up front and en mass, they can just keep nibbling away at it until they get exactly what they want in the long game.

          Say what you want about the NRA but they play the long game. The telcos are used to being regulated and will fill the bathtub and drown all of their competitors in the long run.


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