And it appears he has the votes to do it

Trump-appointed FCC chairman announces plan to kill net neutrality regs

By —— Bio and Archives--November 21, 2017

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Trump-appointed FCC chairman announces plan to kill net neutrality regs
This is one of those stories most of you should care about more than you do, because it has more effect on your life than the stuff large numbers of you mass-click. And yet if you only follow the story at a shallow level, you probably think that’s about to happen is bad for you.

It’s not. It’s good. But you’re only going to get that if you really understand how markets function.

So-called “net neutrality” has long been a favorite cause of the left, and Barack Obama championed it when he was president - finally gettting his FCC to push it through as a regulatory imperative in 2015. What the FCC decided was that it could and would regulate Internet service providers like utilities, which would permit the FCC to tell ISPs how they could and couldn’t price their products. The main target here was to prevent ISPs from charging different prices for different speeds, or to block or slow down content that might be coming to subscribers from their competitors.

That might sound like a consumer-friendly direction, but that’s only true if you’re incredibly short-sighted. What benefits consumers most is if they have a wide range of choices, because then different ISPs have to compete not only on price but also on service and performance to gain the loyalty of their customers. If ISP Number 1 wants to slow down your speeds or block content that might come through ISP Number 2, it can try, but it runs the risk of losing customers who will switch to another ISP that doesn’t do those things.

That competition allows ISPs to pursue profits while being responsive to customer needs, and the result of that is that they have the capital necessary to invest in better performing networks. Net neutrality rules threw a wrench in all this, despite the cheers from the left when they were enacted. So it’s good news for both business and consumers that the new Republican majority on the FCC, let by Trump-appointed Chairman Ajit Pai, has announced plans to rescind net neutrality rules:

“Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the Internet,” Pai said in a written statement.

“Instead, the FCC would simply require Internet service providers to be transparent about their practices so that consumers can buy the service plan that’s best for them and entrepreneurs and other small businesses can have the technical information they need to innovate,” he said.

Under Pai’s plan, which he said would be publicly released Wednesday ahead of a Dec. 14 vote, the Federal Trade Commission would take over the job of policing Internet service providers for online privacy.

Pai called for a repeal in April and the Republican-controlled FCC voted 2-1 along party lines a month later to begin a formal rule-making process.

The agency now has a 3-2 Republican majority. Pai’s two GOP colleagues, Mike O’Rielly and Brendan Carr, are expected to support the repeal.

The agency received more than 22 million comments about the fate of the rules, which are supported by public interest groups and liberal activists but opposed by telecommunications companies and conservatives.



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The rules prohibit AT&T Inc., Comcast Corp., Charter Communications Inc. and other Internet service providers from blocking websites, slowing connection speeds and charging extra for faster delivery of certain content.

What this does is return the decision making in service packages to the parties to the deal - the ISP and the consumer. If the consumer is willing to accept varying prices for different speeds, it’s really no the federal government’s job to say he or she shouldn’t. And if consumers aren’t willing to accept that, then ISPs have to decide how badly they want to keep their customers.

A bigger issue here is the federal government’s power to simply decide a certain industry is going to be treated like a regulated utility. There was no reason to do that in the case of ISPs, regardless of how importaant the Internet may be to people’s lives. Regulated utilities like electric or gas companies are usually the only providers in a given area, so regulation is a way to mitigate their otherwise unmitigated powers of monopoly over the market. There is no reason for that in the case of ISPs, since consumers have plenty of competitve options.

I realize there’s a segment of society that’s convinced every service provider is simply looking for opportunities to screw you, take your money and give you nothing of value in return. That’s how they get you! You probably know someone who says that about everyone and everything.


In real-life markets, companies who behave like that don’t keep their customers very long, unless they are given monopoly power over markets via government regulation. Net neutrality was actually a step in that direction. Once the government decides it runs the ISPs, the ISPs stop concerning themselves with pleasing consumers and start concerning themselves with pleasing politicians and federal regulators. Name me an industry whose service or quality improved after that happened.

I’ll save you the trouble of trying to think of one. There aren’t any.

Net neutrality isn’t necessarily dead. An FCC action to repeal it will surely be met by a left-wing lawsuit, and we’ve already established there are plenty of federal judges who will strike down anything with Donald Trump’s fingerprints on it. But if that happens, it will ultimately end up at the Supreme Court, where Trump’s appointment of Neil Gorsuch probably means the repeal survives.

First, though, it has to happen. Talking about it does nothing. Get on with it, FCC.

Dan Calabrese -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Dan Calabrese’s column is distributed by HermanCain.com, which can be found at HermanCain.com

A new edition of Dan’s book “Powers and Principalities” is now available in hard copy and e-book editions. Follow all of Dan’s work, including his series of Christian spiritual warfare novels, by liking his page on Facebook.

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