Let's Make Sure the Internet Remains Just as Innovative as General Motors

Via the WSJ

A federal appeals court ruled last month that the Federal Communications Commission lacks the authority to regulate the Internet. No worries, mate. This week the Obama Administration chose to "reclassify" the Internet so it can regulate the Web anyway. This crowd is nothing if not legally creative.

For the past decade, broadband has been classified as an "information service" and thus more lightly regulated than traditional telephone services. This has led to an explosion of new investment and Web innovation, but it hasn't sat well with Democrats who want more control over the telecom business, as well as with some Web companies (Google) that want more leverage over Internet service providers like Time Warner or Verizon.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski did their dirty work this week by announcing that he plans to reclassify broadband lines so his agency can regulate them under rules that were written for Ma Bell in the 1930s. This means subjecting the Internet to new political supervision"”from the federal government and 50 state public utility commissions. The goal is to put one more industry under Washington's political thumb.


  1. Pigs & Spiders:

    I'm sorry, but this is just idiotic. The telecoms have had complete control over the internet for more than a decade now and have done almost zero innovating and are threatening to become even more draconian in their pricing and services. It's not a free market, by any means. The entry fee for competition is incredibly steep so as to make it virtually impossible. The FCC reclassification gives it the power to ensure that consumers don't continue to get screwed by the cable companies and that the United States does not continue it's plummet in worldwide broadband rankings. Not all government regulation is bad regulation.

  2. Val:

    Though I find the guaranteed destruction of innovation both lamentable and disturbing, it is the least of my worries when the internet comes under 'new political supervision'.

  3. Dr. T:

    I keep saying that Obama is a fascist. This attempt to regulate the Internet is a perfect example of how a fascist operates. Maybe the public will get a clue about him before he regulates the entire economy and destroys innovation, invention, and entrepreneurship.

  4. epv:

    Normally I would be opposed to regulation, but the ISP market is absurd. Everyone operates in a local monopoly or duopoly, with local regulation locking any competition out. There needs to be some regulation around these companies, in my opinion resulting in the splitting out of the service providers (phone, internet, video, etc.) out from the wire provider. The vertical monopoly there is incredibly powerful, in fact I have heard cable companies advertise on the fact that they have that vertical monopoly!

  5. Rick Caird:

    Pigs and Spiders makes quite a strange comment. The idea that there is no innovation on the internet is laughable. He (or she) singles out the telcoms, but these guys are providing message delivery and physical transport. It is difficult to see what "innovation" these guys could provide. It seems as if "pigs and spiders" is confusing the physical transport with the internet. That is a horrible mistake to make.

  6. Pigs & Spiders:

    I'm not confused at all, Rick. There is plenty of innovation in the space of the internet as far as network applications go. No arguing that at all. And it's precisely that kind of innovation that Net Neutrality is intended to save. Where there has been virtually no innovation at all has been on the delivery and service end of the physical network. Which is ironic considering just how much government subsidy the telecoms have been given in terms of use of physical plant and right-of-way. The telecoms want to charge companies like Google who are innovating in order to make a profit on their backs. This isn't government takeover of a free market, this is government protection of one of the most free markets the world has ever known!