The Internet’s New Enforcer

The FCC chairman appoints himself top cop on the World Wide Web.

Peter Suderman
September 23, 2009
Reason.com

Last Monday, in his first big speech as President Barack Obama’s new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman, Julius Genachowski began by singing the Web’s praises, and portraying it as vital to the workings of society. “Today,” he said, “we can’t imagine what our lives would be like without the Internet—any more than we can imagine life without running water or the light bulb.” On this point, nearly everyone can agree.

Unfortunately, Genachowski drew exactly the wrong lessons from his initial insight: Rather than see the Internet’s growth and integration into everyday life as evidence that government intervention isn’t necessary, the Web’s chief regulator took the opposite view—that the Net’s size and scope make government meddling a necessity. The Internet, in other words, is Too Connected to Fail.

The theme of the speech was openness, but for Genachowski, an “open Internet” seems to mean a “government-monitored Internet.” Innovators and entrepreneurs may have been responsible for making the Web great, but care, oversight, and access are now up to the government. “Congress and the President have charged the FCC with developing a National Broadband Plan to ensure that every American has access to open and robust broadband,” he said.

In other words, Genachowski’s starting point is that it is the job of the FCC job to provide access, not the market.

Read the entire article here.

Comments are closed.