Update, November 11, 2011: The resolution to undo the FCC's "Net Neutrality" Internet power grab was rejected in the Senate by 52-46 on November 10.
Up to now, federal government agencies have kept their collective hands off of the Internet. But that is about to change with the Federal Communication Commission’s Internet-regulating Net Neutrality (NN) order set to take effect on November 20. Unless, of course, the U.S. Senate is successful in blocking the order when they vote on Thursday, Nov. 10 on S.J. Res. 6.
The U.S. House of Representatives voted last spring to overturn the FCC’s net neutrality rules -- put in place by a 3-2 vote of a five member panel -- with a 240-179 vote. The Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Fred Upton (R-Mich.) called the FCC rules “a brazen power grab.”
The consensus among both proponents and opponents is that net neutrality is hard to explain in practical terms because of the Internet’s complex and sophisticated nature. Specifically, the FCC’s NN rules would require disclosure by broadband providers of their network management practices and terms and conditions and would prohibit them from engaging in “unreasonable discrimination,” meanwhile giving the FCC huge oversight and decision-making authority.
This would establish the government as Internet police who could micromanage and prioritize Internet traffic, thereby influencing the market, stifling investment and innovation. Building new networks would become risky because the FCC could disallow them in the end, forcing job layoffs and closing down new companies.
The concept of government-controlled “net neutrality” certainly comes into question, says the Electronic Frontier Foundation, given the FCC’s history of preferring lobbyist’s demands to “individual civil liberties.” Let’s face it; natural market forces work best. Government interference always causes a disruption of the market and adds layers of bureaucracy and unnecessary regulations that often erode personal freedoms.
To avoid overburdening the tech sector with excessive regulation that adversely affects our already teetering economy, and to help keep the Internet free of government control, contact your Senators immediately and urge them to do what is constitutionally correct by undoing the order of net neutrality from an unelected, unaccountable government bureaucracy. Tell them Congress is supposed to represent the wishes of the people and make laws, not the FCC.