Saturday, December 06, 2014
Billy Long: We must stop Obama from regulating the internet
Last month President Obama announced his support for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to regulate the Internet as a public utility. Let me repeat that - the president wants to regulate the Internet.
The Internet is a system of private and public networks created by many different individuals and organizations. These networks are paid for in a variety of different ways, and most are private property. I believe that those who own and maintain those systems should stipulate how their property is used, and since net neutrality or anything resembling it conflicts with this principle, I cannot support it. How carriers manage their networks and negotiate arrangements should be determined by engineers, entrepreneurs and consumers acting in the vigorous marketplace, not by the subjective judgments of unelected bureaucrats.
The Internet is one of the most exciting and promising inventions we have created. It has immense potential to transform human civilization and accelerate scientific progress. We do not need more heavy-handed intervention from government bureaucrats who have a limited understanding at best as to what the Internet should become, what services it should provide, or how those services should be delivered to the public.
If the FCC regulates the Internet as a public utility it will diminish investment and hinder opportunity for commercial activities. In our sluggish economy one of the bright spots has been investment and innovation on the Internet. According to a recent study released by the Progressive Policy Institute, the president’s support for regulating the Internet like a utility amounts to a $17 billion tax on Americans.
We need a hands-off approach to regulating the Internet. An Internet free from government intrusion is a vital ingredient to a growing economy. One more thing - did I mention the president wants to regulate the Internet - let that sink in.