5 things you should already know about the net neutrality decision

This is how the power company works: They send a meter reader out to check your power usage on those little meters attached to the side of your house.

At least they used to do it that way. Now they’ve probably all gone digital and ‘smart’ so it’s all done remotely by some meter-bot somewhere. Anyhow, the meter readers are there to see how much power you use so the power company can charge you accordingly. As in, the more you use the more you pay.

Electricity is a public utility, and the companies that deliver that electricity are regulated as such. But the meter reader scenario is essentially what Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are being maligned for, and it is allegedly the rationale behind the FCC’s recent decision to approve net neutrality regulations.

According to advocates of net neutrality, the regulation is supposed keep ISPs from charging people higher prices for faster internet speeds, as in the more they use the more they have to pay. You know, basically how the electric companies operate.

So one has to ask: If the FCC wants ISPs to behave like public utility providers, but the ISPs were already planning to behave like public utility companies, why do they need to create new regulations to force ISPs to act in a way they were already?

I know, it’s a complicated and somewhat confusing question. But everything is complicated and confusing when you’re dealing with government rule writing agencies. And usually the rules they write and implement are unnecessary to begin with.

Well, here some things you should know that may help clear up that question:

  1. The MOST important thing to remember is there are NO GOOD GUYS or BAD GUYS in this debate, JUST SIDES. (Sorry folks, nuance)
  2. ‘Net neutrality’ has NOTHING to do with neutrality. (I know, shocking.)
  3. ‘Net neutrality’ will NOT ‘keep the internet open’. (Whatever that means)
  4. ‘Net neutrality’ lets giant tech companies use premium internet space without being charged a premium fee, maybe. (See below for more about this)
  5. The other MOST important thing to remember is that ‘Net neutrality’ allows the U.S. Government, yes those guys, to regulate the internet for the first time in the internet’s history. (There will be blood)

More on point 4: This basically means ISPs are forced to deliver their competitors content offerings and not get anything out of the deal. But no one should shed a tear for the ISPs. It’s not like they haven’t been using the force of government regulations to their advantage for as long as they’ve existed. So if the new kids on the block, ‘big tech’, have learned how to do the same—it’s all in the game isn’t it? And we commoners are left trying to make sense of the whole thing, as usual. Besides, no one is absolutely sure that won’t happen in the future anyway, which is typical.

Recapping what we all should know about this: The federal government will now have new powers over the internet which it never had before. That means there is more to come now that the door has been officially opened and we have yet to see the real result of this ruling.
I will wager a year’s worth of my Amazon Prime subscription that there will be more regulations to come. This is only the beginning. Also, as with almost every issue involving government regulation, save for a few critical ones, there are no good guys or bad guys just sides. And usually, we the people get left holding the short end no matter which way the decision goes.

No wonder voter apathy is a thing.

Gary Howard About the author:
Gary Howard is a veteran conservative operative and president of digital communications and grassroots strategy firm, Treadstone. Follow him on Twitter @garyhowardjr
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