Monday, February 23, 2015

From Internet to Obamanet

L. Gordon Crovitz writes at WSJ:
The permissionless Internet, which allows anyone to introduce a website, app or device without government review, ends this week. On Thursday the three Democrats among the five commissioners on the Federal Communications Commission will vote to regulate the Internet under rules written for monopoly utilities.

No one, including the bullied FCC chairman, Tom Wheeler, thought the agency would go this far. The big politicization came when President Obama in November demanded that the supposedly independent FCC apply the agency’s most extreme regulation to the Internet...

The more than 300 pages of new regulations are secret, but Mr. Wheeler says they will subject the Internet to the key provisions of Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, under which the FCC oversaw Ma Bell.

Title II authorizes the commission to decide what “charges” and “practices” are “just and reasonable”—an enormous amount of discretion. Former FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell has found 290 federal appeals court opinions on this section and more than 1,700 FCC administrative interpretations....

AT&T has decades of experience leveraging FCC regulations to stop competition. Last week AT&T announced a high-speed broadband plan that charges an extra $29 a month to people who don’t want to be tracked for online advertising. New competitor Google Fiber can offer low-cost broadband only because it also earns revenues from online advertising. In other words, AT&T has already built a case against Google Fiber that Google’s cross-subsidization from advertising is not “just and reasonable.”...

Unless Congress or the courts block Obamanet, it will be the end of the Internet as we know it.


  1. I'm all for fighting this, but really think it is a waste of time. Do you really think Obama is going to suffer any political cost for this. Has NSA spying, or drone murder, or being in bed with Wall street, cost Obama anything. And just like ObamaCare, the only thing Republicans don't like about "ObamaNet" is that it isn't called RomneyNet, or McCainNet, or BushNet.

    1. I agree. We're screwed. Let's pray for a decent judge. I know, a forlorn hope.