Wednesday, May 3, 2006 - The Progress & Freedom Foundation Blog

Orwellian Net Neut* Speak

This debate about Net Neut* (see below) is getting weirder and weirder, if not downright Orwellian. Calling Net Neutering regulations "net neutrality" is one example. Here's another. Someone sent me a copy of Congressman Markey's Dear Colleague letter seeking cosponsors for his new Net Neut* bill. The headline blares: "Save the Internet As We Know It."

Now think about this. Markey acknowledges the FCC has already re-classified broadband services as non-common carrier services, removing what he calls the "historic protections" applicable to common carriers. But this took place in 2002 for cable broadband service and last year for telephone-provided broadband service. So, the Internet "as we know it" today and the Internet we have known for some time now has not been subject to Net Neut* common carrier regulation.

Seems to me to be working just fine, bringing the American public an ever-greater (mind-boggling to someone like me!) array of services that were unimaginable even a short while ago. I think Mr. Markey ought to be obligated to say what it is he wants us to be saved from with respect to the present Internet "as we know it." Because, remember, the Internet "as we know it" right now is not subject to Net Neut* mandates.

In other words, what I can't understand is how imposing new regulations will "save" something that is working well, at least right now, without regulations.
* I believe that imposing anticipatory broad-brush mandates preventing any differentiation of services on the net will diminish investment in new high-speed facilities and innovative applications, thereby neutering the net. So, in my view what the proponents of new Internet regulations are arguing for is Net Neutering, not Net Neutrality. Henceforth, I refuse to go along with the name game the Net regulators are playing by accepting the use of the "neutrality" claim. I say it's Net Neutering. But in the interest of being, uh, neutral, I am willing just to refer to the issue as "Net Neut*" with the universal asterisk indicating anyone can complete as they prefer ....That way, maybe we can strip the emotion out of the debate, and look at the economic realities.

posted by Randolph May @ 4:23 PM |