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Wednesday, January 21, 2015


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Chansond de Roland

What Senator Thune, his fellow Republicans, and their masters in the broadband industry (Industry) are doing is worse that bait and switch, because the exchange codified in Thune's legislation--the prohibition of paid fast lanes and of slowing content of third-parties in exchange for depriving the FCC of its authority to regulate the Industry to either provide, where practical, competition or, in the alternative, to regulate the Industry as a public utility--is an awful exchange for consumers and for American businesses, because it would allow the Industry to operate as unregulated businesses in markets where they are duopolies or oligopolies, which can charge consumers and businesses monopoly prices for something that they must have, which is broadband Internet connections.

And, if the Congress does thing, it will be cable TV all over again but worse, because one can do without cable TV, but one can't do without broadband Internet. If you doubt me, try it for a week, that is, severe your broadband connection to your home, both fixed line and mobile. And after conducting that experiment, ask yourself what you would pay to get your Internet back. Then you'll understand what it means for Congress to take away the FCC's authority to regulate the Industry so that you don't have to pay that price.

So, if we had to choose, I'd rather lose net neutrality now and look to the day when a FCC that is less subject to the Industry's influence will both reclassify the Industry as telecommunications providers and then proceed under its authority to impose net neutrality and reform markets for broadband service to establish sufficient competition in those markets where possible or regulate the Industry as a utility in markets where adequate competition is not possible.

The Editor is on to it. He has seen the bait and switch trap and is doing his best to warn us to reject this false choice which has been fashioned in the Industry's executive and law offices. We can and should have both net neutrality and the FCC's Title II authority regulate the Industry, if we are to ever hope to have the higher broadband speeds at the much lower prices that consumers in most of the developed world enjoy. After all, we invented the Internet, so we should not lag the rest of advanced nations in the speed, value, and openness of Internet services. Unfortunately, we also are second to none in the undue influence of corporate elites work their will on the government to the prejudice of the ordinary Americans' interests.

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