Saving the Internet from the FCC

Why the Web doesn't need a regulator.


The Internet is in trouble. And it's all George W. Bush's fault.

That's what Net neutrality proponents would have the public believe, anyway. On April 6, a federal appeals court nullified the FCC's censure of Internet service provider Comcast for degrading the bandwidth of some users of the BitTorrent file-sharing protocol. Since then, neutrality nuts have worked themselves into a minor panic.

Free Press, for example, is reportedly responding with a "full-court press" on the issue, which includes, among other things, an online clock counting off the days the Internet has been left "unprotected," cries from staff bloggers that we're in the midst of "a battle over the future of the Internet," and chirpy open letters pleading with FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski for increased federal regulation. The New York Times' editorial board, meanwhile, calls the current situation "untenable" and pins the blame on dear old Dubya, saying that it's all a result of "the Bush administration's predictably antiregulatory decision to define broadband Internet access as an information service…over which it has little regulatory power."

Why the freakout? Because, most agree, the court's decision in the Comcast case would likely invalidate any attempt by the FCC to regulate Net neutrality. According to longtime neutrality booster Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the ruling "appears to vacate the authority of the FCC to conduct oversight over broadband service and the telephone and cable giants that own the wires." Kerry's statement may be slightly too broad, but at the very least, any attempt by the FCC to exercise regulatory authority over an ISP's network management practices—the very heart of Net neutrality regulation—would be of uncertain legality. For the FCC to push forward under the current legal regime would be to virtually guarantee legal challenges that the agency could very likely lose.

So, supporters say, it's now up to the FCC to reregulate what the Bush administration deregulated. This would entail changing the classification of broadband from an "information" service under Title I of the 1996 Communications Act to a "telecommunications" service under Title II. "Under the Bush administration, the F.C.C. deregulated high-speed Internet providers, arguing that cable Internet access was different from the kind of high-speed Internet access provided by phone companies," wrote former Obama tech adviser and University of Michigan law professor Susan Crawford in The New York Times. "It can regain its authority to pursue both network neutrality and widespread access to broadband by formally relabeling Internet access services as "telecommunications services," rather than 'information services,' as they are called now."

Already, at least one of the FCC's Commissioners, Democrat Michael Copps, is on board. "The only way the Commission can make lemonade out of this lemon of a decision is to do now what should have been done years ago: treat broadband as the telecommunications service that it is," he told The Hill.

The solution, then, seems simple: Have the FCC undo the damage done by Bush. But there are major problems with this proposal and the political narrative it employs.

The first is that the Bush administration isn't entirely to blame. The legislation in question—a 1996 modification to the Communications Act—actually originated under the Clinton administration. And the first detailed FCC inquiry into how to treat broadband was signed by Clinton's FCC Chairman, Bill Kennard, in 1998. Here's what he wrote at the time:

The provision of Internet access service crucially involves information-processing elements as well; it offers end users information-service capabilities inextricably intertwined with data transport. As such, we conclude that it is appropriately classed as an "information service."

Nor was this a strictly technical finding—the report made the case that this classification was not only legally correct but socially good. Just a few paragraphs later, Kennard warned that any "conclusion that Internet access services should be classed as 'telecommunications'" would result in "negative policy consequences."

The second problem is that the decision about how to classify broadband providers isn't merely a matter of the FCC's whim—it would entail the FCC making a decision it may not have the authority to make. According to Larry Downes, a fellow at the Stanford Law School Center for Internet & Society, "nothing in the Communications Act gives the FCC authority to decide on its own what is and what is not a telecommunications service."

Instead, notes Downes, the agency is charged with interpreting Congressional statute. And it has consistently argued, starting with Kennard's 1998 report, that the Communications Act puts at least cable broadband under Title I. Indeed, in 2005's Brand X case, it actually went to the Supreme Court to defend this interpretation. And when it did, the Court agreed with the FCC's interpretation. Shortly afterwards, it expanded upon this interpretation, pulling broadband over phone lines into the Title I mix. 

In short, reclassifying broadband under Title II would mean that the FCC is reversing more than a decade of its own legal arguments—and perhaps making a decision it has no authority to make. Yet that is what neutrality proponents are asking for, all so the Internet can have a proper regulator. Is there a threat to the Internet's future here? Yes, but it's got nothing to do with either George W. Bush or with any ISP. If the Internet needs to be saved, it's from the FCC.

Peter Suderman is an associate editor at Reason magazine.

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  1. Which of the Internets are we talking about here?

    1. The one with all the porn.

    2. Internet II: Electric Bugaboo

  2. The worst thing that could happen to the internet is letting the know nothing, anal retentive busybodies at the FCC have authority over it.

    1. Respect my…never mind.

    2. Yeah, but that’s OK as long as we can BitTorrent and not have to shop around for providers who won’t throttle us. You know, it’s so much better that the government get control of the internet than we have to actually take the effort to see if there’s a provider out there who won’t throttle, or waiting until one enters the marker. I mean, what could the downside of letting the government control the internet ever possibly be?

      1. I can control your packets if you only let me see them. Trust me. It’s in your best interest.

        1. Packet-sniff packet-sniff

          Fee-fi-foe-fum, I smell the blood of a citizen participating in banned speech!

  3. Free Press, for example, is reportedly responding with a “full-court press” on the issue, which includes, among other things, an online clock counting off the days the Internet has been left “unprotected,” cries from staff bloggers that we’re in the midst of “a battle over the future of the Internet,”

    And with no sense of irony, either.

    Tax us! Regulate us! Set us free! Only the government can protect my speech by regulating it!

  4. Already, at least one of the FCC’s Commissioners, Democrat Michael Copps, is on board. “The only way the Commission can make lemonade out of this lemon of a decision is to do now what should have been done years ago

    A government official, seeking more power over the public her serves refers to a roadblock in his efforts to acquire more power as “a lemon of a decision”.

  5. But but but there’s this graph going around that shows the US is not #1 in average broadband speed… and the only way to catch up to Japan is to regulate the ISPs!! /stupidshit


    1. Avg U.S. speed could be terabits per second and of what use is it on a heavily regulated net? Personally, I’d rather go back to dialup if that’s what it takes to keep the Feds out.

    2. Only way to catch up to Japan (in big cities at least, it will never be practical to wire rural areas to the extent that you’d wire Tokyo) is to stop letting local governments grant monopoly power to providers.

      1. They get you coming and going. Tax tax tax, grant grant grant to the tyranny of the bureaucrat!

  6. Suderman is the same page on this one as myself and one of the countries oldest living netizens whom I just got off the phone with and by coincidence we were discussing this very exact same issue.

    The very absolute last thing we need is the government getting a substantial toe-hold into the Internet or Internet access points in any way period. This is one of last places on Earth anything even remotely resembling free speech can be practiced, the very last thing we need is regulation. It’s bad enough they’ve already been picking up momemtum calling out the storm troopers on citizens for saying this or that online.

    Rather than involve the FCC in regulating the Internet how about a more practical approach to the “problem” and abolish what never should have been to begin with: the FCC

    1. Now we’re talking.

    2. +3

  7. If the Internet needs to be saved, it’s from the FCC.

    The unregulated internet hails from a blessedly bygone era when gays couldn’t marry anywhere in the U.S. and men still outnumbered women in our universities, patriarchy pants.

    And the President wasn’t black yet, racist.

    1. good points…these people acting as if the growth in government power is always a bad thing must really hate black people nad women.

      1. I love nadding women you misogynist.

  8. I’m sure the same free market principles that made energy regulation work so well in California will make the internet a wonderland!

    If this makes the internet anything like cable then I say let the government do whatever it can to keep it the way it is. We all enjoy the internet as is…

    1. What CA did to energy had about as much to do with deregulation as straw does with strawberries.

      1. It wasn’t REALLY deregulation.

        We know, we know. No true Scotsman and such.


          Some blame deregulation for the rolling blackouts, soaring spot market prices, and utility bankruptcies that sprang from the energy crisis of 2000 and 2001. But this anger is misplaced. California has never experienced true deregulation. The “deregulation” implemented in 1996 left price controls in place and created “artificial” markets ripe for manipulation and disparities between supply and demand.

          By setting price caps below market prices, California limited the profitability of the industry. When wholesale energy costs increased, the price caps prevented energy producers from passing them on to consumers. Wholesale prices rose dramatically for a number of reasons: natural gas prices rose, hot weather in the Southwest increased demand, a relative lack of water in the Northwest minimized the production of hydroelectric energy, and pollution-control permits, which allow industrial companies that produce less pollution than allowed by regulations to sell the difference as “credits” to higher-pollution-producing companies, rose ten-fold, from $4 to $40.

          The price caps additionally discouraged potential producers from entering the market and increasing competition, and they discouraged existing producers from investing profits in adding capacity, of which Californians were (and continue to be) in dire need. As a result of the price caps and pressure from politicians and environmentalists, the building of plants and transmission lines slowed dramatically and energy producers were not able to keep up with demand, particularly in the Silicon Valley, where the booming computer and “dot-com” industries led to even sharper increases in electricity demand.

          No true scotsman is born in zimbabwe! God, people overuse that fallacy.

          1. Oh, well, if Mises says it then of course a True Scotsman it isn’t!

            1. Nice arguments, I’m really convinced by your honest, concise, good natured reasoning that you are right and I am wrong.

              1. Likewise your cut and paste to a hyper-partisan site has convinced me.

            2. Oh, well, if Mises says it then of course a True Scotsman it isn’t! I can’t respond to the evidence presented so I’ll repeat my previous misuse of that fallacy.

              You’re welcome.

              1. Hmm, third assertion the fallacy is inapt here, and third failure to argue why.

                1. Can you refute anything in that linked article? Even I knew that deregulating power rates at the wholesale level while leaving price controls in place at the retail level would lead to problems, because the end users would be insulated from spikes in wholesale prices. Isn’t that exacly what happened in CA?

              2. California has never experienced true Scotsmen.

                Jesus, the line from the article is actually only different in one word from the fallacy itself!

                1. Could you then show us how “deregulation” caused the power crisis in CA? I’m sure you could do it with something besides “ZOMG! DEREGUALTION! EVUL CORPORASHUNS! HURR DURR HURR DURR”

                  Can’t you?

                  1. There is such thing as PRICE CONTROLS and subsequent LACK OF SYSTEM MAINTENANCE. Creaky, creaky USA!!!

                2. Good god, MNG. How is it that you always have these explosions of retard??

                  There is no such fucking thing as “deregulation” in the California Energy Market.

                  There is nothing “free market” about price controls and energy caps.

                  Are you really that stupid?

                  “No true Scotsman” might actually apply if we were talking about something even remotely like a free market. We’re not.

                  1. Ladies and gentlemen… the musical stylings of… Explosions of Retard!!!

              3. Oh, well, if Mises says it then of course a True Scotsman it isn’t! I can’t respond to the evidence presented so I’ll repeat my previous misuse of that fallacy compound my fallacy by throwing in an ad hominem.

                1. Where’d he go?

          2. Sometimes I think I should be a hard core libertarian just because of the great ease in thinking that would result. It’s a great formula. Start with this idea: government is bad. Then in any given negative situation just dig and dig until you find some government involvement. There will always be some, even in a minarchist state. Then lay the blame for the negative situation on that government involvement! The forms and extent of the involvement simply don’t matter. Then, do the opposite of any positive situation. Governments are never omnipresent so just point to where they were not involved in some positive situation and say it happened apart from, or better yet despite the government involvement!

            It’s an ideology like those things you can order in the back of comic books: just add water!

            1. Are you hungry?

            2. Spreading misery and unhappiness again? Why can’t you live up to your principles? Give up your selfish desires. Go away to make all the rest of so much happier. It’s such a small sacrifice for you to make in order to bring joy to so many.

            3. You forgot to re-mention how the LP is such a safe harbor for racists, MNG.

              You know, like you did in another thread.

            4. Not to mention advocating violent means to meet your questionable moral end.

            5. I will grant you that libertarians and anarchists are kissing cousins, but don’t think that your arguments against anarchism debunk libertarianism. At root of anarchism (as an Ideology) is that most problems of the world are because of the state or more broadly, institutions. Libertarians believe a state or institutions are necessary because of problems with the world. Libertarians don’t seek culpability in government, we seek the freedom to choose and the freedom to loose. We seek to live and let live. But it just so happens that government is constantly infringing on these freedoms and seems unable or unwilling to let us live. Thus we are freedom loving people, perturbed by government. Not government hating people.

            6. Yes it is easy to make the case that violent coercion from above isn’t the best solution to everything. I know, I’m so intellectually lazy….

        2. You’ve worn that bogus retort out, MNG. As the cited passage pointed out, all CA did was shuffle regulations and call it “deregulation” because they created a rigged system and called it a “market.” It wasn’t. You couldn’t even trade an energy future on the thing.

    2. If this makes the internet anything like cable then I say let the government do whatever it can to keep it the way it is. We all enjoy the internet as is…

      So after you’ve gotten your snark out of the way, you agree that letting the FCC have the same power over the Internet that it does over broadcast TV and radio is a bad idea?

      1. The FCC is a positive force re: cable. For example it is pushing for a la carte.

        1. Read that as: the FCC is interfering with the contracts private business negotiate with each other. And somehow, that’s good.

    3. At least Patriot Henry was amuzing.


        1. You will die, be patient.


    4. If this makes the internet anything like cable then I say let the government do whatever it can to keep it the way it is.

      Cable TV has local government-granted franchises (though some states have given competitive franchises to telcom competitors), but the FCC has little power over it. Competition in cable TV would be perfectly legal, but almost all local governments prefer to avoid it.

      What this proposal is is to give the FCC the same power over the Internet as it has over broadcast TV and radio. Sure, maybe it’ll throw in giving the FCC power over cable TV too.

      1. Why doesn’t the Supreme Court use the Commerce Clause to break open the local monopolies such as Cable TV?

    5. I’m sure the same free market principles that made energy regulation work so well in California will make the internet a wonderland!

      Like government-run ‘spot-markets’ for energy prices. Dregulation forever!

      As a Texas energy official once said of Californials “so-called” deregulation after bullet pointing all of California’s regulations: “If that’s deregulation, we don’t want any of it”.

    6. What do you propose, MNG, that wouldn’t lead to content regulation by the FCC?

  9. Whenever I hear libertarians complain about the government “getting a toehold” in an area like this I just assume they think the two or three big ass companies that do or will end up dominating the market in this area are the ones we can REALLY trust to look out for us!

    1. Sort of like AOL/Time Warner?

      Oh wait they don’t exist.

      1. Every now and then one of the big dominators will be traded out for another, I’m not sure this helps much.

        1. Every now and then one of the big dominators will be traded out for another, I’m not sure this helps much.

          But as I noted, the big dominating companies exist precisely where the most broadband access is.

          The less profitable rural and poor areas are where the big boys don’t go, and lots of small companies spring up, but have difficulty establishing total coverage.

          We could go to a Universal Service model like phones; that requires people who live in civilization to massively subsidize the up to tens of thousands of dollars per line it can cost for people who want to live in the middle of nowhere yet have the same telcom service as the rest of us.

          1. Hopefully it’s obvious that I meant that we currently pay some rural phone companies tens of thousands of dollars per line to service people in the middle of nowhere; presumably Internet service would cost as much or more.

            1. What, can’t you give back to the little people who made you so rich?

    2. People keep assuming that the backwards communities with less Internet and broadband access have monopolies. That’s actually not the way it works.

      What’s happened so far is that it’s a lot less profitable to serve the backwards and rural communities, so the big companies have stayed out of there. The poorer and more rural the state, the more competition there is, because the market gets served by a lot of startups that do an uneven job. In the wealthier markets, the big companies bring their economies of scale to the table.

    3. the two or three big ass companies that do or will end up dominating the market in this area

      Interesting. So you are basing your arguement on hypotheticals that may never happen?

      It’s like you’re Alan Vanneman except you don’t go away.

      1. Quit insulting my family! You mess with me, you mess with my family!

    4. Whenever I hear libertarians complain about the government “getting a toehold” in an area like this I just assume they think the two or three big ass companies

      And how did it come to one or two “bigass” companies controlling the entire market? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm?

      BOARD OF SUPERVISORS president Aaron Peskin, who cast the deciding vote to approve a rotten new four-year contract extension with Comcast, the city’s monopoly cable TV provider, told the San Francisco Chronicle afterwards that he didn’t particularly like the arrangement. “I would love to vote against this,” he said.

      But Peskin and others argued that federal law has largely preempted the city’s ability to negotiate cable franchise contracts, and besides, as Peskin told us, there are only so many battles San Francisco can take on at one time. Under the circumstances, Peskin says, the city had little leverage and did the best it could.

    5. Once we get our toehold I have plans for subsidizing the creation of a great many big ass companies. No brother should ever have to do without big asses.

      1. you’re so sweet…

  10. It’s a freakout over something that might happen which hasn’t happened yet (net censorship). Hopefully, emerging technologies will make the perceived problem go away. In many places, there are now finally options in broadband for the first time. As the things like 4G penetrate new areas, the ability to shop for a service provider should eliminate the problem if it ever arises. But the FCC has only ever been good at censorship. It’s like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse. The reason for the full court press now is that they know emerging technologies will probably eliminate the possibility of censorship occuring, and they need to capitalize on that fear now, in order to get control.

    1. It’s a freakout over something that might happen which hasn’t happened yet (net censorship).

      Been to China lately?
      Or Iran?

      Oh, you mean it hasn’t happened here yet and we should wait till it does before worrying about the possibility.

      Wanna buy a bridge?

      1. J sub D, I’m pretty sure he was talking about the corporate censorship. The FCC is demanding a lot of powers to deal with potential threats that haven’t materialized.

        1. I was, but don’t be too hard on him. It may be expecting too much for him to read more than one sentence of a comment before replying.

          1. Don’t be too hard on him because the comment you wrote was a little less than clearly written. Primarily the first line, you failed to mention who was implied by “Its a freakout..” Without that knowledge the first logical guesses would be in relation to the article (Suderman’s freak-out)or to the comments (the freak-out of those responding to the article).

            Would you disagree with statement: First impressions are lasting.

            Having gotten the same impression as J sub D from the first line, I had read the comment twice and was still having difficulty comprehending it’s full intended meaning, so decided to move on. It’s clear enough, now, after reading the follow up comments, but it wasn’t before that.

      2. I would argue that if the FCC gets a hold of the internet, then what we would have in the US would be more similar to China or Iran than what we have now.

  11. I’m sure the same free market principles that made energy regulation work so well in California will make the internet a wonderland!

    MNG unintentionally gets it right. Yes, the regulated energy market in CA (and it was always regulated, they just changed the rules and called it “deregulation”) did indeed fail because of the arcane mysteries of “supply” and “demand”.

    So, yes, pretending that market forces don’t work in the internet world will lead, inevitably, to a “market” failure.

  12. Consider:

    A regulatory agency like the FCC cannot increase the supply of anything. It can only reduce or restrict it.

    Now exactly what internet problem will be solved by reducing or restricting access to the internet?

    1. “A regulatory agency like the FCC cannot increase the supply of anything. It can only reduce or restrict it.”

      What gets me is that you seem to think this is such an obvious set of premises you can rest the rest of your argument on. Sheesh.


      A system of tort law can not increase the supply of anything, it can only restrict or reduce it.

      That’s as much nonsense as what you wrote, and as they are analogous I’ll let you finish this syllogism.

      1. NFL referees cannot increase the number of touchdowns, feild goals and safeties scored, they can only restrict these. So what problem in NFL football will be solved by NFL refs being ablt to restrict or reduce the supply of scores.

        1. Remind me never to use NFL analogies in economics.

    2. Too many citizens angry at the government.

      And OMG! PORN and the CHIDREN!!!

  13. You want me to take care of this FCC bully for you?

    1. Dude, you need to find and link to the Stelio Kantos song. Unfortunately, my quick search shows that YouTube has already cleansed it from their site, and no one else seems to have it.

    2. Will Steve be picking up the tab?

  14. Oh save my FCC from all the evilz of the internet (porn, LoneWacko, etc) that I can simply do myself. God damm I hate statism.

  15. Caption Contest!

    “Woo Hoo! Has anyone ever gotten to level two on Ms. Pac Man?”

    1. “If I want to erase something, do I hold it upside down and shake it?”

  16. Do the folks at the SEC know about this?

  17. A system of tort law can not increase the supply of anything, it can only restrict or reduce it

    Except lawyers.

  18. LOL, the FCC is about as useless as the TSA


    1. The FCC is about as senseless as T&A on a fence pole.

    2. Lou has been right on so much of late. Crazy that Lou is smarter than your average regulator.

  19. Folks, let’s just make clear what this is about. Unlimited bandwidth at a fixed price is an American birthright, along with cheap gasoline and free health care.

    1. Don’t forget green jobs, McMansions, and cars that magically get 1000 mpg while pumping pink baby farts into the atmosphere. I can’t wait until someone thinks cell phones and sex with attractive people are birthrights as well. Then we’ll surely have “positive” freedoms.

  20. Lets hear more about Clegg! This election could happen in a couple weeks or so. I’d be happy to be informed on this. It would also be interesting to see if Moynihan and Cathy Young views are more in line with David Frum or Justin Raimondo.

  21. A system of tort law can not increase the supply of anything, it can only restrict or reduce it.

    A system of tort law is not a regulatory agency; it is a process for providing restitution to injured parties.

    Analogy FAIL.

  22. Provide us, MNG, with an example of a regulatory agency that has increased the supply of what it regulates.

    Redistribution does not count, and remember to factor in the costs of the regulatory regime in determining its impact on supply.

    I say agencies can only reduce or restrict supply because they (a) add deadweight cost and (b) implement restrictions on operations.

    What do they do that would tend to increase the supply of anything? Except, of course, regulators.

    1. Good luck getting any kind of legitimate response, RC.

      One would think MNG would be smart enough to admit that you’re correct and then argue that in some cases the deadweight, administrative & regulatory costs are worth the lag on the economy.

      Of course, in this case a reduction in internet access is pretty much the opposite of good, so that argument would fail hard too.

      1. Somethings up with some one who spends so much time at a libertarian site and yet is obviously frightened sick over the idea people may be allowed to rule themselves, to have choices, to be able to exercise liberties.

  23. I see MSG is still practicing Pi?ata-style Kung-fu on his hapless victims…

  24. If it weren’t so much fun to poke him through the bars with a stick, I would have blocked the poor bastard long ago.

    The history of Western civilization is the history of a Texas cage match between Aristotle and Plato.

    Aristotle wins every time on the merits, but that fucking Plato keeps winning the popular vote. And MSG is a Plato man all the way.

      1. That’s my “fun” name for MNG. I call him that, because he makes me break out in hives… ;^)

        1. You give him too much credit. Monosodium Glutamate is both useful and potentially harmful.

  25. Dudes
    Free Press the group was founded by an ACTUAL Marxist. No, not hyperbole, check it out – Robert McChesney. Google is your friend. He is of the opinion that unless “commercial propaganda” (i.e. advertising) is not eliminated, “the revolution will not happpen.”
    And groups like these are informing the FCC’s policies.

    1. Sweet god. What revolution does he think will happen? Probably a violent one where the dissenters heads are placed on spikes to warn the outsiders never to sell us cars, video games, Viagra, and laundry detergent.

  26. The FCC is the last ones you should be worrying about:

    1. Other than the Godwin at the end, it was an interesting read.

      The real problem is that most people don’t even understand how their postal mail works, let alone email, and much less a large networked system. So to expect the average citizen to worry about the gov’t inspecting every packet that comes in contact with their systems is not reasonable.

      Unfortunately, the only way to combat this type of intrusion and monitoring is with simplistic accusations of fascism and the sort.

      I guess Godwin has a point.

      1. My point in writing the article was merley to point out the dangers as I saw it. If used properly and with discretion, it is nothing more then a transparent violation that most people will not even notice.
        I wrote it because I notice how more and more people are posting personal information up, or use their home machine to conduct all their business and store things they do not want anyone else to see.
        However to anyone familiar with hack or snmp programs and runs them like i do, it will be noticeable, and questions will asked – in addition, it exposed even more govt systems to attacks – but as stated in the article, they do not seem to care because like always they think they have unlimited funds to mitigate the effects. Sad really.

  27. Thanks for all the good comments on here. After Obama won I was mostly bummed except for a few pet issues that I hoped Obama would get sorted out. Our embarrassing government enforced monopolies with heavily subsidized ISP’s was the main one.
    He has been a massive disappointment probably worse then McCain since he is blinded by his trust in satanism err i mean statism.

    Right now there is a battle for power over the internet between corporations and government. Leftists see it as a battle between the Shepherd (govt) and the wolves (corporations) over us the sheeple. Libertarians (sheep dogs) see it as a battle between two sets of wolves.

  28. I’m surprised no one has mentioned the quiet attempt by ESPN to “channelize” the internet by selling access to ISPs instead of subscribers. I suspect this business model will fail miserably, but were it to succeed, it would represent the end of the open internet … for commercial services, at least, you’d only get the content that your ISP offers.

    Somehow I doubt we’d find it palatable if you could only reach a particular phone number if your telecom provider “subscribed” to that number.

  29. Just be thankful you’re not here in Australia, where our Mandarin-speaking, former-diplomat-to-Beijing Prime Minister is such an avid Sinophile, that he’s even determined to lump us with a copycat Internet Great Wall.

  30. Keeping regulation out will eventually lead to Comcast dying. In my area the alternative is ATT. Everyone I know thinks ATT service is abysmal. Despite that people are flocking to uVerse for TV and the net.

    The only way for our broadband rating to go up is tax breaks for broadband infrastructure upgrades. We cannot fund the upgrades publicly because private industry owns the wires. But we can certainly get a tax break passed especially with the current climate of “Owe, my taxes hurt”.

    1. lol – okay – what do you base this on?

  31. Freedom of speech is just one of our inalienable rights the government is slowly squelching. If you look at our present day reality and compare it to the ten planks of the communist manifesto, you’ll see we’re already embracing all ten planks to some degree.

    Check out our article comparing current US policy and law with the first five planks of the Communist Manifesto:…

  32. All feelings on the FCC/net neutrality aside, I’m not sure it’s helpful to draw false comparisons between the US – the freest country in the world – and authoritarian states such as China and Iran. It strikes me as ironic that those who characterize the Government as insufficiently competent to regulate anything also allege that the Government is “slowly squelching our freedom of speech.” On a side note, the ‘first plank’ mischaracterizes the concept of eminent domain.

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