LAS VEGAS – Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler’s speech yesterday to broadcasters attending the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) Show here dealt primarily with broadcast-specific subjects. But as expected, he also used the occasion to tout the Commission’s new Open Internet Order, arguing that broadcasters should support it because, like the must-carry rules, the order “assures that your use of the Internet will be free from the risk of discrimination or hold-up by a gatekeeper.”
To characterize this claim as 100-proof claptrap would be to understate the case. Put simply, no Internet service provider has, or would have, the tiniest interest in discriminating against anything broadcasters might want to put online. Indeed, net neutrality is widely embraced by the phone and cable companies.
The real issue is the way in which the FCC – through Title II regulation – proposes to define and enforce net neutrality in the future.
Much has been said about the inefficiencies and investment-reducing effects of Title II regulation, and most all of it is true. But the less-well-discussed aspect is the potential in it for activist groups and ideologues like Free Press and kindred organizations to exploit this order in attempts to impose certain types of content controls. >> Read More