As expected, the FCC passed the net neutrality rules today. Other than spokesmen for the large telecoms (and perhaps some politicians who listen to that lobby), you don’t hear much reasoned opposition to net neutrality.
I have to admit that my views have been changing on the issue from a position of: (1) a solution in search of a problem; (2) to a desire to help make sure start-ups have a fair shake and access to the consumers; (3) to let the market take care of any ISP’s that throttle content; (4) to what about the people who don’t have more than one option for an ISP?
Now, I feel like we are at a Hobson’s Choice. Do we trust the Government, or do we trust Big Business? More precisely, who do we trust not to be a jerk in the future?
- Do you think the likes of Comcast would throttle competitors’ content or force the big content providers into fast lanes leaving all start-ups back at dial-up speed?
- Do you think the Government can stay at this minimally invasive level of regulation whereas before the Internet has thrived, at least in part, because of the lack of government regulation.
Leave it to the BBC Radio to have Mark Cuban on as a guest to provide additional interesting arguments as to why the new regulations are bad–by focusing on the future? Listen here. In effect, Cuban asks whether we want companies to be able to manage their networks as we start to see more driverless cars and online virtual reality applications. Will the next new thing have to ask the government for permission to run online?
The regulations, as currently written, take a soft hand approach. But, we should be vigilant to make sure they stay that way. You know the story of the cooked frog, right? If you put him in boiling water, he will jump out of the pot. You put him in cool water and gradually turn up the heat, you will end up with a cooked frog.
For a good analysis prior to today’s release, read this.