You can sometimes judge the quality of a thing by those who oppose it. In the case of FCC Chairman Wheeler’s plan to allow the sale of “fast lanes” by Internet service providers, we have the usual suspects.
There is, for instance, Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), about whom it’s impossible to say a single flattering thing, and organizations like Public Knowledge, Common Cause, and Free Press, whose role, these days, is to be the routinely embarrassing coiners of nonsensical slogans like “Net Neutrality: The First Amendment of the Internet.”
So these, and more, have been roused to high dudgeon by a plan that would allow ISPs to give Internet content providers the opportunity to pay more for a speedier route to consumers. (Oh no, not that!)
The Media Institute has spent a lot of time with “net neutrality,” and we were pleased that under former FCC chairman Genachowski the FCC adopted a “lite” form of it. But we also said it was a solution in search of a problem, and that the only lasting effect of it would be to set a precedent for regulation of the theretofore unregulated Internet.
Still, judging by the negative reaction to the modest plan offered by Wheeler – a plan that was in direct response to a court order, and that reportedly keeps in place restrictions against all the kinds of dastardly things ISPs were falsely accused of planning to do – there’s a core of people who can’t get away from the “cause.”
One of the more flamboyant of the bunch is former FCC commissioner Michael Copps, who, on the subject, is reported to have relieved himself of this nugget: “If the Commission subverts the Open Internet by creating a fast lane for the 1 percent and slow lanes for the 99 percent, it would be an insult to both citizens and to the promise of the Net.”
Time will tell whether more people think it’s Wheeler’s plan, or Copps’s statement, which is the greater insult.
The opinions expressed above are those of the writer and not of The Media Institute, its Board, contributors, or advisory councils.