The FCC and the Internet

The FCC is expected to reclassify broadband providers tomorrow, placing them into a category with more regulation.  It’s a move considered “the nuclear option” and would guarantee consumers “can use the device they want, run the programs they want and access the services they want, so long as they don’t harm the network.”

Obviously the companies providing that broadband network access are against regulation for no other reason than they detest being regulated.  But Tom Rutledge, CEO of Cablevision, does have a good point when he insists that ” regulating broadband networks under a framework of rules that were drawn up in the early 20th century would be a bad decision.” 

Peter Suderman, writing for Reason, has a brief history of how the internet and broadband providers become deregulated and concludes, without coherence, that the internet must be saved from the FCC. 

It’s clear though, that the internet and how consumers access it in this information age, is new territory for the government and regulators.  The old rules of television, radio, etc. can’t really apply to the internet — especially given that an internet access provider now owns a television network. 

When it comes to regulating markets and the internet, open and free has been the one lasting winner in the two-plus decades of its existence.

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