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Stuck in neutral: Net neutrality is corporate welfare

July 14. 2017 1:49AM

Whenever large companies tell you that they want the government to step in to protect consumers, be on your guard.

Google, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, and many other top internet companies are urging consumers to tell the Federal Communications Commission to keep the Obama administration’s 2015 net neutrality rules in place. FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai argues that the federal government should not regulate internet service providers, such as Comcast, as if they were public utilities. Under the 2015 rules, ISPs have to provide the same high-speed service to all content providers.

Supporters say this leads to a free and open internet. Opponents counter that it is simply government favoring one set of giant corporations over another.

Net neutrality prevents an ISP from the online equivalent of a carpool lane for ultra-fast internet access. Such false egalitarianism makes everyone go the same speed. Netflix could pay for a faster connection so that its customers could get high-def video with less buffering, but it wants Uncle Sam to make ISPs give it that access for free.

It is tempting to want federal regulators to force ISPs to let our tweets load faster. But such interference in the marketplace undercuts incentives to improve broadband access. Why upgrade the network if you can’t charge for the improved service? Net neutrality is a misleading euphemism for government control of the internet.

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