Net neutrality may return if liberals in Congress get their way. The House is set to vote on a bill this week – as early as today – to restore Obama-era regulations on the internet. They claim it’s to save the internet, but in fact, they would hurt internet innovation.
Contrary to what John Oliver and Alyssa Milano told us in 2017, repealing net neutrality regulations did not destroy the internet nor did it make the internet less free and open.
Instead, net neutrality slowed down investment in broadband internet expansion meaning that it would take longer for many Americans (especially in rural areas) to get access to the fast internet connectivity that other Americans enjoy. You might call that internet inequality.
Liberals claimed repealing net neutrality would grind web traffic to a trickle. They lied.
The Trump Administration Federal Communications Commission was right to overturn net neutrality and Congress should not try to resurrect these onerous regulations.
Here are 3 reasons for Congress to leave net neutrality in the trash pile:
Repealing net neutrality made the internet faster. Since the repeal of net neutrality in June 2018, U.S. internet speed jumped from 12th to 6th fastest in the world (and currently hovers a couple of spots below). According to an analysis by an independent internet speed testing company, from the end of 2017 to 2018, download speeds increased nearly 40 percent and upload speeds jumped over 20 percent.
Upload and download speeds make it possible for us to quickly access information like sports scores or photos on Facebook as well as to share information such as new recipes on Pinterest.
Consumers benefit from faster and easier access to browsing online, uploading and sharing photos or capturing videos and hosting live streams.
Repealing net neutrality boosted investments in expanding internet access to more Americans. During the first two years of the Obama net neutrality regulations, broadband network investment declined by $3.6 billion-—or more than 5 percent –-and that was the first time investment declined outside of a recession. Americans in rural America likely missed out on better access to the internet as companies pulled back on developing expensive but needed internet infrastructure.
Net neutrality wasn’t needed to begin with. Net neutrality was a solution in search of a problem. There is little evidence of wrongdoing, such as anti-competitive behavior, that warranted the added regulations.
The 2015 net neutrality rules were initiated from a power grab by the Obama FCC from the Federal Trade Commission, the previous federal cop on the beat. By reclassifying broadband providers as telephone carriers they expanded their authority over internet providers and opened the door to a slew of regulations on how broadband internet was delivered.
As former FCC Chairman Michael Powell explained in a recent editorial: “Title II and similar public utility regulation, however, has a well-documented history of impeding investment, stifling innovation and increasing prices. We should not want the internet to suffer the same fate as our potholed roads, decaying electric grid and overburdened airports.”
Congress shouldn’t undo net neutrality’s repeal but allow the “light-touch” regulatory framework that preceded net neutrality — when the internet grew and flourished at lightning speed — to continue to govern today.