An Obama administration policy to regulate the internet that goes under the misleading name of "net neutrality" was upheld this morning by a federal court. Until net neutrality came along, the internet was one segment of the economy the administration kept its mitts off. But no longer. Politico reports:
A federal appeals court Tuesday upheld a White House-supported effort to make internet service providers treat all web traffic equally, delivering a major defeat to cable and telephone companies.
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals sustained the FCC's latest net neutrality rules, which consumer groups and President Barack Obama had backed as essential to preventing broadband providers from blocking or degrading the Internet traffic.
The telecom industry and Republicans heavily criticized the rules as burdensome and unnecessary regulation, with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz once labeling it “Obamacare for the Internet.”
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, who led the Democratic majority against the GOP minority in the fight for net neutrality, called the court decision a “victory for consumers and innovators who deserve unfettered access to the entire web.”
Not true. Net neutrality is basically the Obama administration's regulating the internet as if it were a public utility. The administration is using a nineteenth century railroad law and 1930s telephone service rules to justify the power grab.
“Net neutrality,” like so many progressivist-y causes—climate change, health care for all—is a phrase designed to be embraced rather than understood.
But net neutrality had real meaning. Its core idea was that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, a Washington agency whose employees have been regulating communications since 1934, should design and enforce a price mechanism for the Internet. Up to now, nobody did that.
Just the treat of such regulation led to a telling decline in investment.