Net Neutrality: Business or Politics?
As the new proposals for rules and regulations start to show up regarding net neutrality moving forward it is apparent that politics and political wrangling will rule this one. A very real possible result of this could be that common sense is shelved. Why do I say this? Go ahead and read the article from Macworld discussing this very subject and see if you come to another conclusion.
According to the article the government (read: Democrats) say:
The rules are necessary to protect innovation on the Internet and preserve the openness that has allowed the Internet to blossom, said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.
“The problem is not merely that we’ve seen some significant situations where broadband providers have degraded the data streams of popular lawful services and blocked consumer access to lawful applications,” he said. “The heart of the problem is that … we face the dangerous combination of an uncertain legal framework with ongoing as well as emerging challenges to a free and open Internet.
“Given the potentially huge consequences of having the open Internet diminished through inaction, the time is now to move forward with consideration of fair and reasonable rules of the road,” he added.
While the other side (read: Republicans) say
But Commissioner Robert McDowell suggested the Internet has seen massive growth because of a lack of regulations. The proposed rules regulate network providers, but not Web applications vendors, while supporters assume new innovation will come from applications and not networks, he said.
“The Internet is perhaps the greatest deregulatory success story of all time,” said McDowell, a Republican. “No government has ever succeeded in mandating innovation and investment.”
New rules could inadvertently hurt the growth of the Internet and give a precedent to other nations that want to create all kinds of new Internet regulations, McDowell added.
So all this is saying is that to get through this process there will be more politics than good decision making. If it looks like I don’t believe that good decisions are usually born out of political posturing then you have read that correctly. When it comes to the Internet, which is, for the most part, one of the remaining areas that has created a lot of discussion but little legislation and regulation this could be troubling.
It is not my intention to create a political issue here at Marketing Pilgrim. To be fair then I will say that I have not been impressed with much government activity from either side of the aisle (meaning Democrat or Republican) over my lifetime. I don’t care if you bleed blue from a blue state or red from a red state we have plenty of evidence that the more control the government exercises the less logic and common sense presides. Having said that the likelihood of government regulation regarding the Internet is a bit scary.
This argument will be politicized to the nth degree with free market proponents saying that government regulations will crush the innovation needed to create jobs. The government folk, who claim protection of the little guy and his ability to function while big business ruins his life (while actually providing all the products and services ever needed but that’s another point for another day) want to make sure that no one is left behind.
While there are merits to both sides of this argument I can’t see how government regulation is going to help this. I also can’t see letting providers charge more for greater bandwidth requirements etc. So where is the middle and does anyone really play there?
So how will this play out? Slowly and painfully over time. Just yesterday it was announced that Sen. John McCain has introduced a bill to block net neutrality rules.
So let the games begin. Since it is likely that we will just have to sit on the sidelines with no real say in the end, let’s at least hear your opinions in the comments section here at Marketing Pilgrim. Please keep it civil since we know politics in this day and age is more about name calling than actually doing anything. We’d like to think we’re better than that here.