Is Net Neutrality Good Policy?
Articles,  Blog

Is Net Neutrality Good Policy?

In early 2015, the FCC decided three things
in its net neutrality order: 1) Cable and phone companies can’t block any websites
2) They can’t discriminate against some websites, and third, no paid prioritization,
or what the average person would call fast lanes on the internet. If you look at how the internet and America
operates previous to these net neutrality regulations, there was no digital dystopia. We didn’t see cases of ISP’s engaging
in any competitive conduct such as blocking lawful content from being delivered over the
internet. And if there were evidence of systemic failure,
I would be the first one as an FCC official, to stand up and say “this is wrong” but
that’s simply not what we saw. To the contrary, we have the internet economy
that is the envy of the world precisely because, unlike many other parts of the world, we have
decided to take a market-based approach. If you look at how innovation has happened
and you can think of pretty much every company that comes along and disrupts a previous company,
Google and Facebook are good examples, they would not have been able to do it without
internet neutrality, and I think that you would stifle innovation in any of those new
sectors, Bitcoin, Internet of things, autonomous vehicles, robotics, all of those things rely
on an open internet. You can have innovation without permission
very rapidly, unless you force all of those guys to go get permission from AT&T and Verizon
and Comcast, that’s not how it should work, that’s not how to ensure innovation. Historically, the internet has become one
of the most open spaces for innovation and investment, precisely because there was no
central authority deciding what was neutral, what traffic could flow over the network,
how the networks were constructed, and that was in part due to a bipartisan consensus
started in the Clinton administration, that the internet would be a testbed for market-based
innovation Net neutrality ensures competition among internet
services. Comcast cannot block Netflix, cannot block
YouTube, cannot treat YouTube better than Netflix no matter how much YouTube pays Comcast. There is a virtuous cycle, they call it, where
innovators will create applications, that generate demand, then users will get on the
internet because they want to use those applications. And so when people create more applications,
more people will sign up and when more people sign up the cable companies will invest and
build more capacity to lead to more applications to more users. These regulations would have negative impact
on internet service providers’ willingness and ability to invest in next generation networks. When it comes to large broadband providers
for example, in the first six months of 2015, we saw 12 percent reduction in the amount
of capital they were willing to spend on broadband, and that’s notable for one significant reason,
this is only the third time in the internet’s history that this has happened. The first time was in the wake of the tech
bubble bursting in 2001, and the second time was in the wake of the Great recession in
2007 and 2008. So we’re really in uncharted territory here
in a lot of ways. What you’ll hear the phone and cable industry
and their defenders say is “you know, we would lower the price of broadband if only
we could charge Netflix and Google some extra cash, and then we would lower the prices for
consumers, wouldn’t that be amazing.” That would never happen. That would never happen because there is no
competitive pressure for the cable companies to lower their prices. They would take the money from Google and
Facebook and Amazon and therefore create fast lanes for them, destroy startups and the innovation
we’ve had on the internet and then not even lower your prices because they don’t have
to. The broadband marketplace is anything but
a monopoly. We have 4,462 internet service providers today,
some are big, some are small, some are innovative, some might not be, but the way to discipline
those companies, the way to regulate this entire marketplace, is to allow the aggregated
decisions of millions of American consumers to drive the future of the internet.


  • Bob Beckel

    The argument that there are 4000+ ISPs is very misleading.
    There is a growing monopoly at the curb, the Internet provider
    from whom you can get service. Right now, the part of San Diego
    where I live, there are only two wired ISPs, Time Warner and AT&T.
    If the FCC allows AT&T to acquire Time Warner, it will have a monopoly.

  • Greg Pease

    Yet let the consumers drive the future of the internet by limiting the potential content they consume! BRILLIANT! Destroy the market by limiting the pool of competitors to the 4 or 5 shitty mega ISPs and their crap content. I hope you like paying for subscriptions to you websites like you did for TV channels.

  • TKList

    Net neutrality is BS.
    Deregulate the Cable/ISP industry at the local, state and federal level.
    This will increase competition and produce better service at a lower price.

  • Operate170

    Not having Net Neutrality wouldn't be so bad, but there's no competition, so if I don't like what my ISP does, I can go fuck all about it.

  • dragon1130

    as it stands, we need net neutrality for obvious reasons. with companies like comcast and time warner being monopolies in there own areas, they decide what gets through there services and can force other companies like netflix to pay a premium so they don't get blocked or slowed down to a crawl.

  • nanochase

    the issue is not net neutrality, but the lack of ISP competition, Google is doing some work with fiber, but local level monopoly protections restricts where they can lay down lines, the future of the web will be wireless simply because there is less red tape

  • Charles Everett

    All net neutrality wants to do is keep things the way they are right now free and open. Anybody who doesn't want net neutrality can profit off of it not being net neutral.

  • jason boyles

    omg!! finally, an unbiased video showing two people on opposite sides of the spectrum debating the merits of net neutrality. Do you have any idea how hard this was to find? I was beginning to think Google was blocking it. Kinda scary to think i get all my major news from a few huge websites… Maybe the ISPs aren't who we should be worried about?

  • thewalkingdude 01

    why not create more companies among internet providers to force competition and give people more choices and freedom to choose internet providers versus being stuck with one or two internet providers

  • Victor Martinez

    Ajit Pai is such a liar. There was no real reduction in investment of broadband or internet services in 2015.

  • Karlson BonBon

    Ajit pi is wrong when he says that isps are in a competitive market because for many thousands of Americans the choice is pay one company or don't have internet. Also the internet should be regulated like any other essential service because it is a necessity for many.

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