I was originally opposed to Ted Cruz on this point, as it appeared he was railing against Net Neutrality.
Here’s what Net Neutrality has looked for the last 30 years, since the mid-1980s, back when the Internet was known as Darpanet:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) charged one price for each bandwidth tier. For example, $30 for 3 Mbps; $65 for 25 Mbps, etc.
The put reasonable caps on total bandwidth per month, which was ok, such caps prevent abuses and keep the prices lower for the rest of us.
Prices are set by the market, and free market competition keeps prices reasonable. When prices become outrageous, it opens the doors to more competition, which usually appears as either more bandwidth for the same price, or the same bandwidth at lower prices, while maintaining the same quality at lower prices.
Obama’s version of Net Neutrality, however, is to “reclassify consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act,” and he would have to power to back up his restrictions with the long arm of the Department of Justice.
Title II outlines the granting and licensing of broadcast spectrum by the government, including a provision to issue licenses to current television stations to commence digital television broadcasting, the use of the revenues generated by such licensing, the terms of broadcast licenses, the process of renewing broadcast licenses, direct broadcast satellite services, automated ship distress and safety systems, and restrictions on over-the-air reception devices.
Obama wants strict controls and regulations on content providers, but he’s not limiting his aspirations to traditional Internet sources. He wants to control mobile devices, too, and he wants to control all aspects of what you can see and hear on your mobile device, as well as what you can send.
Under Obama’s plan, each and every individual in the United States of America, if not the world, would be regulated as a “broadcaster.” The business ramifications of this would be extreme:
As noted by J.D. Tuccille (2014), “In a 2001 examination of decades of antitrust policy for the Cato Journal, George Bittlingmayer, now at the University of Kansas, wrote that “It turns out that whatever the ability of antitrust to lower prices and increase output in theory or in isolated circumstances, one actual effect of antitrust in practice may have been to curtail investment.” In particular, he attributed low investment in the late 1950s and early 1960s to “aggressive antitrust and related initiatives””
Much of the incredible innovation that has occurred over the last twenty years would grind to a halt. Many of the current services you enjoy may very well become illegal if Obama gets his way, and because they would fall under the strong arm of the FCC, if ISPs refused to comply with the new rules, they would simply be shut down.
As Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier noted, “This changes a relentlessly innovative and growing part of our economy into one that must wait for permission for any new ideas.” Most companies cannot afford to sit idly by, waiting on approval from the federal government. That’s largely what killed the U.S.S.R. Companies would bail left and right for greener pastures. Put simply, the Internet would start looking like a redneck road sign at the end of a lean hunting season.
The deleterious impact on innovation, however, isn’t the half of it. Since every producer of content, including those who blog or video blog would now be regulated by the FCC, they would be as subject to abuse by the FCC as conservative groups have been abused by the IRS in recent years. Although Obama specifically stated some limits in his proposal, five years of history have clearly and rather incessantly reminded us of the miniscule value of Obama’s promises.
Before implementing yet another Obama”care” fiasco, take a look around you. Sure, ISP prices are higher than we want. Their revenue models have reached the end of their useful lives, and they’re beginning to make some changes. However, alternative sources of programming blitzed pass them like a kid chasing down an ice cream truck on a hot August afternoon. Both Google and AT&T are laying the infrastructure for the future in the form of fiber. We are not in trouble here, folks. For around $25 a month, I enjoy programming from the top three on-demand sources: Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. That’s far more content that would ever have time to watch. My Ooma IP phone allows me to make unlimited local and long-distance calls for $3.85 a month. E-mail services are robust and free, as are some blogs and website hosting services.
It doesn’t GET any better than this, folks. We are enjoying the benefits of unbridled innovation in the form of reasonable prices and a massive selection of content and services.
Obama wants to change all that. Whatever you do, don’t let him!
Tuccille, J. D. (2014). Obama’s scheme to regulate the U.S. into ‘net neutrality’ nirvana could kill broadband. Reason.com. Retrieved from http://reason.com/blog/2014/11/13/obamas-scheme-to-regulate-us-into-broadb