An FCC power grab
Lima News: The Federal Communications Commission, by an expected 3-2 vote, decided to assert its own control over the Internet under the attractive-sounding label of “net neutrality.” This new power-grab will likely be challenged in court, but it is unfortunate that the commission went ahead with this ill-considered idea.
The FCC ruling, which essentially bans Internet service providers from blocking lawful content to their customers, addresses a nonexistent problem. The fear, hypothetical so far, is that companies that sell both Internet access and Web content will block access to competitors’ content. Since ISPs know customers prefer open access and have choices when it comes to ISPs, their business incentive is to provide open access without unreasonable restrictions, and, so far, there have been no examples of ISPs doing otherwise as a matter of policy.
However, lack of a real problem or lack of statutory jurisdiction, for that matter has seldom stopped a government agency intent on increasing its power. The Internet has thrived in an environment of virtually no government control and become increasingly important in peoples’ lives. Those whose lives are devoted to increasing the scope of the regulatory state have trouble dealing with the idea that some aspect of life is beyond their control. So they reach for rationales.