Wyoming Liberty Group
by Jason Gay
Although not in the news for a while, the efforts to classify internet access as a utility are not nearly as benign as they may first appear. Net Neutrality, the innocuous, misleading name chosen by proponents of internet regulation, remains an ongoing issue. Recently, President Obama called for the FCC to act unilaterally.
There is a major push on several fronts, including academic publications in favor of regulation. The common flaw in these arguments is confusing correlation with causation—they look to areas with greater poverty and limited internet access and see the latter as a cause rather than the former.
[The following is an edited and updated essay written for The Heartland Institute in July 2011, and is reprinted here by permission.]
Next Monday, Sept. 9, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia will hear oral arguments in Verizon’s challenge to the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet Order, more commonly known as network neutrality. The FCC passed its net neutrality regulations in December 2010 by a 3-2 margin split along partisan lines with the Democrat majority favoring. The same Court of Appeals unanimously decided against the FCC’s attempt to impose net neutrality rules against Comcast in spring 2010. The main reason both entities rejected the FCC’s action was that the FCC didn’t have the authority to implement and impose the rules.