You may remember Dec. 31, 1999. That’s the last time the Internet was expected to die, because millions of computers were going to crash when their internal clocks failed to turn over to the year 2000. I sat in the Globe’s newsroom, waiting for the end. Nothing happened. It was quite a letdown.I get it. We all hate our ISPs for what? Bringing us all the world's entertainment and knowledge into our houses for what seems to be an outrageous price. Punish them!
Now here comes another “apocalypse.” On Dec 14, the FCC is expected to abandon the Obama administration’s policy on so-called Net neutrality, in which the government forces Internet providers to treat all data equally. Activists say it’s the end of the Internet as we know it, with giant Internet providers like Comcast and AT&T free to block or slow down access to key online services unless they’re paid extra to let the data flow.
But I’m betting hardly anything will change. Not the day after Dec. 14, the month after, or the year after.
I’m as subject to panic as the next guy, but I can’t see much reason to freak out over the supposed death of Net neutrality.
I’m on board with the principle that Internet carriers should not be allowed to block certain Internet services or deliberately slow them down to make them less accessible. Many activists go further and reject “paid prioritization,” or giving superior “fast lane” service to consumers willing to pay extra.
Serious breaches of Net neutrality are pretty hard to find. An activist group called Free Press published a “greatest hits” list of alleged violations. They found 12. Oops . . . make that 10. In two decades of widespread Internet use in America, they couldn’t find even a dozen significant violations, so Free Press padded the list with two cases from outside the United States. Even the remaining 10 are questionable cases that may have been driven by network security or traffic management disputes, rather than by efforts to stamp out rivals.
The reality is that it's a case of regulations for regulations sake; it exists, therefore the government (meaning liberal democrats) should control it. And you know that's exactly how they'll use it.
Everybody Is Wrong About Net Neutrality
. . . While the scare stories are legion — my favorite is a bizarre rant in the Globe and Mail arguing that the end of net neutrality would mean doom for “the resistance” — and the technical details are often mind-numbingly complex, this is still a simple story. Between 2005 and 2015, competition produced a 1150 percent increase in broadband speeds. Free markets and unfettered capitalism built out the fast internet. Now the government wants to step in and help. . .That help needs scare quotes.