Much like Frankenstein’s monster to fire, conservatives tend to give the same knee-jerk reaction toward regulation. “Regulation, bad!”, they’ll scream, and a lot of their constituents nod in agreement, most of the time without hesitance and with aggression. The regulation of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) has proven no different.
Government regulation is not an absolute evil. Smart free-market proponents argue some level of regulation is necessary to maintain and ensure a free and open Internet.
Now, don’t get me wrong; I’m not a red-tape cheerleader. However, laws and regulation have helped steer society forward, And the current fire of regulation in the face of Frankenstein’s Republican monster is Net Neutrality.
I am in favor of simplicity and straightforwardness. President Obama has laid out a very simple to understand and no-nonsense standards to be set for the ISPs to follow:
- No Blocking
- No Throttling
- Increased Transparency
- No Paid Prioritization
Setting aside Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s either ignorant or dishonest response to Obama’s requests, a large portion of the dissent is obfuscated in obtuse language and double-speak on the benefits of “innovation” and “prioritization” of content on the Internet.
When put to task of answering whether or not access to an open Internet (without blocking, throttling, or prioritization) is a good idea, those opposed to Obama’s request are unable to answer in under 10 paragraphs. That is because the two are irreconcilable.
Paid prioritization is in direct opposition to Net Neutrality. Plain and simple.
Some will argue since ISPs have invested money in private property to offer serves to customers that therefore they have the right to do what they want with said property. But Comcast has proven over and overagain that they will use their property to satisfy their own self-interest, to the detriment of a free and open Internet.
Comcast and friends have continuously prevented competition by filing frivolous lawsuits to prevent new ISPs from starting up in established markets. This creates an environment where a third of Internet subscribers have only one choice of ISPs and the only reasonable option at this point is to provide and enforce stricter guidelines.
Keep in mind, these are the same ISPs that are fighting against a motion to reclassify the Internet under Title II. Despite the fact that smart, free-market proponents argue that Title II is the best way to prevent a natural monopoly.
The debate is not whether you like the concept of network neutrality; the debate is how you ensure it happens. And blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization is not network neutrality.