Obama: Government Should Regulate Internet to Keep it Free

Nick Gillespie

So President Obama has announced that the Internet should be regulated as a public utility. He’s asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reclassify internet service providers (ISPs) from “information services” under Title I as telecommunications providers under Title II regulatory guidelines. (See here for background on the distinction.)

This is all being done in the name of “Net Neutrality,” keeping the Internet free and open, prohibiting “fast lanes” for certain services and sites, making sure no legal content is blocked, and all other horribles that…have failed to materialize in the absence of increased federal regulation.

Reason contributor and Clemson University economic historian Thomas W. Hazlett defines Net Neutrality as “a set of rules…regulating the business model of your local ISP.” The definition gets to the heart of the matter. There are specific interests who are doing well by the current system—Netflix, for instance—and they want to maintain the status quo. That’s understandable but the idea that the government will do a good job of regulating the Internet (whether by blanket decrees or on a case-by-case basis) is unconvincing, to say the least. The most likely outcome is that regulators will freeze in place today’s business models, thereby slowing innovation and change…



The article continues, with video, as Reason.com


Update: Obama pushes FCC to turn broadband Internet into a public utility with revised ‘net neutrality’ rules as Republicans claim it’s ‘Obamacare for the Internet’

President Barack Obama sided with open-Internet activists on Monday, urging the Federal Communications Commission to draft new rules that would reclassify the broadband net to regulate it more like a public utility.

The end result would tie the hands of Internet service providers that want to cut special deals with services like Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and Amazon to push their streaming content along a ‘fast lane’ that ordinary Americans can’t access.

The FCC has been working on the new rule for seven months, and has received nearly 4 million comments from the public.

Its first attempt at a ‘net neutrality’ rule met with the judicial axe in January with a federal court sided with Verizon and ruled that the government agency lacks the legal authority to control how Internet companies set their prices….



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