The Wall Street Journal editorial board on Thursday effectively endorsed Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to repeal “net neutrality” rules.
Pai released his proposal Tuesday to undo the internet regulations imposed under the Obama-administration’s FCC in 2015. The move shows that Pai is more than ready to move forward with a decision he seemed intended to make for a while.
Editors of TheWSJ provided their opinion on the matter likely due to the fact that clamoring against Pai’s decision has led to vitriolic condemnations, and even nonsense that doesn’t always delve in the nuances of the regulatory effects.
TheWSJ alluded to this fierce opposition on multiple occasions.
“Anyone who thought Thanksgiving would include several days of comity and goodwill toward fellow countrymen has been disabused, and one holiday brawl has been about ‘net neutrality’ rules that the Federal Communications Commission plans to repeal,” the opening sentence reads. “The political outrage doesn’t match the underlying merits, which is a return to the free internet that reigned for 20 years.” (RELATED: FCC Chair: ‘Hysterical Prophecies’ Led Dems To Almost Break The Internet In Just Two Years)
Net neutrality is an imprecise, and broad concept meaning, for the most part, that internet service providers (ISPs) have to treat all internet traffic the same, and thus have no right to discriminate against certain forms of traffic. It also often means that firms can’t offer faster speeds to higher-paying customers, nor offer special deals and promotions.
Proponents of net neutrality regulations assert they are vital for preempting any ISPs that may try to throttle or block internet traffic to gain an upper hand over other companies or customers.
Critics argue that the rules only address hypothetical situations, and are highly obstructive for businesses. They say it will unduly restrict innovation and progress in the industry in which consumers will ultimately pay the price. Advocates of Pai’s decision to repeal also say that if any unfair throttling or blocking occurs, the Federal Trade Commission, in loose partnership with the FCC, can crack down on a case-by-case basis, just as it did prior to 2015.
After they make their argument that Pai’s order is an appropriate return to how internet policy was until the end of 2014, “which no one remembers as a dystopia.”
“Readers may now wonder why they are hearing claims that the Comcast customer service department will soon rule the internet,” the concluding paragraph begins. “This line is a classic case of rent-seeking from internet companies like Netflix, which want to limit how much they have to pay to stream movies that suck up a lot of bandwidth. The real story is that, thanks to new leadership at the FCC, this week a few tech giants in Silicon Valley lost to American consumers who will benefit from more innovation and choice online.”
The National Review also endorsed Pai’s decision, specifically saying that Congress, not an independent federal agency, should consider rules through legislation to help solve any potential issues.
“If Congress wants net neutrality, then Congress can pass a law and let the FCC enforce it. It isn’t up to the FCC to create sweeping new policy on its own,” the editorial board for the National Review wrote Wednesday. “That kind of lawlessness ran rampant in the Obama administration, and the Trump administration is undertaking important work in undoing it, from the FCC to the EPA.”
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