Thursday, February 26, 2015

Net Neutrality: A Win for the Good Guys


Well put, Senator.

It was just announced that the FCC has voted to use its Title II powers to classify Internet service providers as "common carriers." This allows the commission to regulate the Internet much like a telephone company. The upshot is that powerful content providers can't cut deals to get a "fast lane" for their data if they pony up the big bucks. Now Google, Facebook, Netflix, and start-ups stay on a level playing field. If I decided to build a website and sell goldfish delivered by drones, I'd get the same speed as any Internet user. My website will sink or swim depending on the marketability of what I offer, not the speed for which I "qualify."

Naturally, conservatives and ersatz libertarians are decrying the decision, claiming it means the opposite of what it actually represents. The FCC means things stay the same, for now. Conservatives claim that the FCC is imposing new regulations that the Internet didn't have heretofore. Baloney. The FCC is using the correct statutory powers to keep the Internet the way it's been since the beginning, fending off ways money can corrupt a vital democratic communications platform.

Although the Internet is pretty fancy these days, basically it's still just a way to communicate and trade documents, images, and services. Going to your online bank is basically just the same as walking in to a branch and saying "Hey, do this for me." Clicks are the same as "Do this please" or "Yeah, take me there" or "Show me that document."

Not rocket science, unless you're a backwater congressman trying to sound all freedom-lovin' while giving away the store to the rich folks downtown.

Anyway, the good guys won today. And don't let Fox News tell you different.

Here's a good opinion/news piece on it in the New Yorker.

Oh, and the piece makes a good point that it's another solid achievement of President Barack Obama. Quiet, please, legacy burnishing taking place.

Sorry, GOPers, our man wins again.


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