ISP-Funded GOP Congressmen Speak Out Against Net Neutrality, Question FCC's Legal Authority

The Republican Party has a bone to pick with the Federal Communications Commission, and you’ll never guess why. Oh, wait, yes you will. Predictably, several Republican congressmen have come out against the evils of Net Neutrality, despite the fact that it passed several months ago, and despite the fact that it could charitably only be called Net Neutrality Lite. What gives?

The latest complaint, by way of Rep. Fred Upton, of Michigan, and Rep. Greg Walden, of Oregon, centers on two things. One, that the FCC may have overstepped its bounds when it comes to “regulating” the Internet, something the NYU School of Law sorta agreed with. Not that the FCC overstepped its bounds per se, but that it went about implementing Net Neutrality (Lite) using the wrong legal avenues. Oops.

The other part of the congressmen’s assertion is a little less inspired, and that’s that the FCC didn’t show any market-based reason for implementing Net Neutrality in the first place.

I suppose these congressmen never had the please of, to mention one concrete example, Comcast shaping their traffic without so much as their knowledge, let alone their approval. How about, “You want to shape my traffic? OK, I’d like the cancel my service with no penalties, please.”

The idea that the almighty market will ensure that the Internet remains free and open is laughable. Have we forgotten that Google and Verizon capriciously decided that the “mobile” Internet is separate from the “regular” Internet, and that data there should be treated differently than data elsewhere?

And by the way, what market? Hoe many high-speed Internet providers are available in the average American town? You’re lucky if you have one crummy cable operator offering “high speed broadband.” Seems to me if your ISP is treating your data unfairly then you really don’t have anywhere to turn.

There’s your market at work.

And how about this: Comcast was in the top five contributors to Rep. Upton’s campaign back in 2008, and AT&T similarly contributed to Rep. Walden during the previous election cycle. I guess we’re supposed to believe that random congressmen, backed by the very companies that stand to lose if Net Neutrality were to stick around, just so happen to have an interest in seeing the FCC knocked off its perch.

How convenient.

Or maybe that’s what they mean when they say they want the market to dictate policy? Whatever company comes around with a cheque-signing pen gets its agenda pushed. Neat.