It looks like another of the Obama Era efforts to control American thought processes is about to be imploded by the government, and the Democrats are really not happy about it. On December 14, the Federal Communications Commission is set to vote on whether or not to send oversight of the internet back to the Federal Trade Commission where it had been from its rollout in the 1990s until 2015 when the new rules were passed.
The effort under Obama was to classify the internet as a utility and therefor force its regulation by the Federal government. With the people who actually do all the innovating and development of new technologies and platforms, that went over like a lead balloon, but it passed any way in no small part to the deceptive moniker given to the project, “net neutrality.”
The member of the FCC currently spear heading the effort to return the internet to its previous boundries is Chairman Ajit Pai. In addition to slamming the major social media platforms’ efforts to control the information presented at the top of any search, Pai explains what really happened when “net neutrality” came into being. (His entire address can be found here, and is worth the read.)
The results have been bad for consumers. The first negative consumer impact is less
infrastructure investment. The top complaint consumers have about the Internet is not and has never been that their ISP is doing things like blocking content; it’s that they don’t have enough access and competition. Ironically, Title II has made that concern even worse by reducing investment in building and maintaining high-speed networks. In the two years of the Title II era, broadband network investment declined by $3.6 billion—or more than 5%. Notably, this is the first time that such investment has declined outside of a recession in the Internet era.
When there’s less investment, that means fewer next-generation networks are built. That means fewer jobs for Americans building those networks. And that means more Americans are left on the wrong side on the digital divide.
That includes many customers in rural areas whose dreams of broadband have been shattered.
After Pai made his proposal that control of the internet be returned to the FTC, a comment period was opened for Americans to weigh in. The results are overwhelming: ditch net neutrality, and unleash the internet. That, however, is unacceptable for Democrats, particularly a couple dozen Democratic Congresscritters, so they came up with an excuse to get the vote on December 14 delayed.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) also made a similar case, as did the City of New York and advocacy groups. His office said last month that “tens of thousands” of New Yorkers may have had fake comments filed in their names.
Just like a whole lot of people in South Florida had no idea how to work a vote-o-matic in November of 2000.
What did the FCC spokespeople have to say about this?
“This is just evidence that supporters of heavy-handed Internet regulations are becoming more desperate by the day as their effort to defeat Chairman [Ajit] Pai’s plan to restore Internet freedom has stalled.”
Sorry, Democrats, but the wild wild west of internet is here to stay. The attempts to control the narrative(s) and messaging just aren’t working. The people see through it, and the programmers of the internet are really tired of fetters being put on their work.
This particular Obama effort is over. The left is just going to have to live with it.