Fox News reported that The FCC released more than 300 pages of Internet regulations Thursday which, according to hypothetical critics, will increase the cost of Internet providers while simultaneously slowing down improvements and growth. While the law of averages suggests that anyone will eventually be correct if they try to express a biased opinion on everything that happens in the world this also suggests that being correct is also the ultimate goal.
These regulations include the much maligned and barely understood “Net Neutrality” rules called for by President Obama and subsequently approved by a narrow majority vote of FCC commissioners. I’ll say that again because it seems to need repeating, the President called for it and the FCC approved it. FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai said of his dissenting vote the consequences of these regulations will be, “higher broadband prices, slower speeds… less innovation, and fewer options for American consumers”.
I must jump in here concerning the “choices” American consumers have when it comes to service. Go do a search of internet providers by zip code, then come back. You found in your area 1 cable provider, 1 DSL provider, and a few alternative providers you didn’t want anyway. Cable providers have a virtual monopoly on service areas so don’t worry about your choices getting any worse. They can’t.
So what’s in all those pages of whatever the hell these regulations are? Fox News says it amounts to paving the way for new taxes. Is that it? Yes it is says crazy.
In their defense the regulations do call for a new tax that will lead to supporting the already existing Universal Service Fund. The government is currently covering the charges on that, so now the ISP are going to chip in. Not to dastardly but it is a new tax.
What isn’t a new tax is the rest of the nonsense being hysterically thrown about the room. Internet Service Providers are to be defined as Public Utilities which would expose them to the same taxation as phone service companies. So this is an existing tax that some ISPs are already subject too that will simply be applied to the rest. We need a commercial with crying kids and a wolf stalking the forest FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY to stop this. Or just let the market normalize with everyone being subjected to the same costs of doing business. Whatever.
Less hysterical experts also have concerns however. Economist Hal Singer of the Brookings Institute says he and his colleagues are, “more worried than ever about the likely tax consequences from reclassification.” Hal Singer makes some great points in his book The Need for Speed, A New Framework for Telecommunications Policy for the 21st Century so before you dismiss what he has to say as right wing rhetoric give that a read.