Cross of Corn is a contributing writer on Leavenworth St.
You may have heard some rumblings of a so-called “Net Neutrality Day of Action” this week featuring some of your favorite websites. The so-called on-line protest is supported by lefties like NARAL, The Nation, MoveOn.org and BoldProgressives.org. In today’s era of Fake News, here’s what’s really going on and what this is all about:
What is Net Neutrality?
This is the policy term that essentially means all internet users, stakeholders, and their online activity and content should be treated fairly and equally. Internet service providers (ISPs) should not be allowed to interfere with the data crossing their networks and the rules of the internet should ensure an open and dynamic platform for all. Basically, everyone and their dog (even Sen. Ted Cruz’s dog Snowflake) supports net neutrality.
So, what’s the problem?
The net has been neutral and thriving since its creation—but I don’t have to tell you that. Our society enjoys the boon of technological and life-improving advances enabled by the internet (without my weather app, I’d have to go OUTSIDE to check the rain gauge so I would have something to talk about over coffee at the Farmers Co-op). For years, a bipartisan slew of lawmakers and regulators in Washington, D.C. advanced policies that enabled unfettered access without stunting the growth of the internet, allowing networks to expand and connect more communities and help get more folks online.
Fast-forward to 2015: the Obama Administration reversed decades of that successful policy by applying highly controversial and much more restrictive public utility regulations, also known as Title II, on the internet. Created to regulate the telephone industry of the 1930s, these utility regulations make it more difficult for internet companies to invest in growing their networks and focus on the development of new products and services (think Elizabeth Warren regulating your internet). Essentially, an unprecedented step in the wrong direction.
The Obama Administration conflated Title II with net neutrality, arguing that one could not exist without the other—despite the fact that it had, for decades.
What’s the solution?
It’s possible to secure an open internet without this silly attempt by progressives to over-regulate the internet. Those behind this Day of Action know this. For some, it’s about cronyism. For others, it’s about government control.
Rather than letting the FCC continue to play ping-pong with this issue with each changing Administration, Congress needs to step in and find a permanent legislative solution. One that protects the essential principles of an open internet while removing the overarching Title II-public utility regulations imposed by Obama-era regulators. Nebraska’s delegation appears solid on this issue, but the rest of the 530 voting members of the House and Senate need to support legislative action that creates lasting, commonsense policy that returns the internet to the approach that garnered extraordinary success and innovation. That should be our call to action.
Leavenworth St. is aware of the current slow page-loading issues.
We’re working on it.