I’ve been hearing about the net neutrality debate for months now, and it seems like neither side is getting anywhere. It’s just a bunch of thrown punches, and no one is looking to surrender. FCC vs. Republicans. Big companies vs. Democrats. The list goes on and on. I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted by it all.
Among the cat fights and petty slaps, both sides have forgotten one fundamental thing: neither one has it all figured out and neither one is completely right. Everyone has his head buried deep in the sand…or maybe lost in his own party’s butt. That’s kind of Washington’s specialty, right?
So maybe by taking a step back and assessing the overall concepts of the argument, we might get somewhere. Let me preface this by saying that I do not profess to know everything about net neutrality, nor do I know all of the ins and outs about it. But I’m a daily Internet user, so I think I have a right to say my peace.
First of all, a government-run Internet functioning as a public utility should not be an option. We’re just shooting ourselves in the foot here. I know the government wants to protect neutrality, and I respect that. But let’s be honest, any overreaching project the government takes on tends to become slower than a bear right out of hibernation. And don’t forget the gobs of red tape and bureaucracy, which will no doubt lessen the quality and accessibility. Say it to yourself: government control of the Internet. I think I just heard George Washington turn over in his grave (at least about the government control part).
Now, as for the big companies. It certainly isn’t fair for them to hog all of the bandwidth and create a little Internet monopoly. Just like government control, this is also limiting the freedom of the Internet. Part of the beauty of it is that anyone and everyone can communicate. A person’s Internet use should not be limited because he isn’t a CEO of a media corporation. And your large portion of bandwidth should not be awarded to you because you were able to pay the steep price. That’s opening a door straight into disaster. Once again, the titans are squashing the guy next door.
So Democrats: lay off the public utility idea. That’s just another bad idea with a hefty price tag. Take your hands out of this pot. And Republicans: stop sacrificing yourselves at the feet of corporations and instead take up the cause of freedom of speech.
Companies may have a right to pay money for what they want, but there is no way this right trumps the 1st Amendment. Allow the FCC to go after companies who abuse bandwidth to maintain neutrality. But leave the regulation there.