The Invasive Nature of “Net Neutrality” | Citizens Against Government Waste

The Invasive Nature of “Net Neutrality”

The WasteWatcher

The world has seen an incredible increase in computer and Internet capabilities over the last decade.  This expansion has been spurred by the capitalist principles of competition.  The dynamism of the Internet is now being threatened by politicians who want to regulate it.  If implemented, regulation will stifle competition, raise consumer costs, and hinder high-speed Internet deployment and innovation.

Advocates are now pushing Internet regulation under the guise of achieving “net neutrality.”  Their underlying goal is to prohibit Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from choosing which types of information to offer on the Internet.  In short, net neutrality could forbid the use of premium services, for a cost, over regular forms of data transmission, and would prohibit ISPs from blocking specific areas of the Internet.  Congress is considering this form of Internet regulation in upcoming telecommunications legislation.

While some companies may choose to offer unfettered Internet access to attract consumers, it should never be forced upon an ISP by the government.  Coerced “net neutrality” would suppress innovation.  Pricing and web content are both means of competition for ISPs.  Without a plethora of consumer options, monopolies will arise and push out the smaller companies that can find a niche in the marketplace.  ISPs would become uniform.  This would be like telling a four-star steak house that they have to offer the same food and charge the same price as McDonald’s.

More dangerously, “net neutrality” sets a precedent that would allow the federal government to continue to shape the content and use of the Internet.  The Internet has successfully flourished because of the lack of governmental influence and must be allowed to continue in order to help expand the economy.  Government imposed restrictions in China shows how one Internet regulation leads to another.

Net neutrality legislation is simply unnecessary.  Its advocates claim that ISPs will block parts of the Internet and insist on high forms of payment for accessibility.  Consumers would quickly cease to use an ISP service with those kinds of restrictions.  If consumers feel that prices and content are not what they should be, they will switch to a provider that offers a more compatible and higher quality service.

Customers have more choice in Internet providers than ever before.  These companies compete for customers by creating new, innovative services at customer-friendly prices.  The Internet has flourished due to a lack of government intervention.  Congress should continue to encourage, not discourage, this form of competition.

-- Katherine Walkenhorst

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