Incrementalism when all else fails

The banners of “equality” and “fairness” are quite attractive. What is under the banners, though, can be quite ugly. But who looks under the covers? TELFORD: A stubborn devotion to Internet regulation describes one case.

“The “Open Internet Order,” an FCC order adopted in December 2010, intended to place strict federal regulations on ISPs, forcing them to treat all data equally. Veiled under the pretense of “fairness,” these net neutrality regulations could have prevent ISPs from providing efficient Internet service to consumers, as all data are not created equal, and different types of Web content (simple text and live streaming video, for example) require varying degrees of service. Under this order, ISPs would not have been allowed to differentiate between simple and complex data, prioritize high-demand content such as Netflix or take other steps to compete, innovate and attempt to make Internet service better for their customers.

“Fortunately for everyone who uses the Internet — from developers all the way down to casual Web browsers — a federal court struck down the order earlier this year, determining the FCC lacked legal authority to impose such a regulation. Rather than accept defeat, the administration moved on to Plan C, pushing the politically unpopular policy through yet again, this time softened to allow traffic to be differentiated, but only if bureaucrats at the FCC consider it “commercially reasonable” on a case-by-case basis. This version of net neutrality has Google, Facebook and other White House-friendly tech giants in an uproar.”

Persistence is an admirable trait but when that persistence is after controlling someone else, it becomes something else.

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