We have to wonder whether we’re seeing now seeing insight or mere persistence. One thing is clear, however: if this bill passes it will have more to do with the Supreme Court’s revival of the Major Questions Doctrine than with the state of the Internet in 2022.
It goes without saying that US regulatory performance on the 5G mid-band and aviation is well below the international standard. Dickson was a poor choice when the former president appointed him, and he hasn’t grown into the job. A balanced hearing would show this.
The need for broadband can be satisfied in a matter of months by spending money where it can do the most good: on end user inclusion programs and subsidies. The long term need for better and better broadband exists as well, but it lives on a completely different timeline.
It’s reasonably clear that Internet regulation is now blowing up in our faces: Congressional Democrats are intent on raising the 2015 OIO from the dead, but for reasons that appear to be totally political. Meanwhile, data brokers make hay with our browsing histories and nobody but the Europeans seems to care.
Enjoying the benefits of ICT and the Information Age requires us to adopt new models of regulation that are fit for the task. For this to happen, we’ll need to stop demonizing every new invention for the sake of eyeballs, audience, and ad revenues.
The Obama FCC admitted that it could not find the sweet spot. In the 2015 Open Internet Order, former Chairman Wheeler simply claimed regulatory authority to sanction firms for behaviors he could not anticipate. Rather than creating bright line rules, Wheeler raised his voice and issued threats. Angry threats have subsequently become the preferred way to regulate not only the Internet but its regulators as well. This is not productive, but it’s the road chosen by many.
California simply has some motivated politicians seeking to capitalize on the state’s animus toward the FCC, Washington, the Red States, and the Trump Administration with a symbolic act of rebellion. Net neutrality is a California export, so in some sense it’s fitting for it to come home.
The peril of net neutrality is stagnation. If we force the Internet back to the traditional straight jackets, this fully competitive future may never arrive. I’m not willing to take that risk when lawmakers are so blind to the reality of the Internet that they can float this “one word at a time” nonsense with a straight face.