The War on Prosperity

Wayne Brough has the details:

The FCC is considering the use of Title II of the Federal Communications Act of 1934 to regulate the Internet. This would deem broadband providers common carriers, much like telephone and electric utilities. For many, this is a panacea that would ensure all data would be delivered in a fair and non-discriminatory manner. Yet the history of public utility regulation raises serious questions about the efficacy of this approach. All too often, rate regulation is distorted to include subsidies, taxes and benefits for politically powerful interests, with the costs passed on to ratepayers. It is not clear how imposing public utility ratemaking procedures on broadband providers would improve the consumer’s Internet experience.

Wheeler frames the FCC’s role as “incentivizing competition.” Yet it is hard to square the FCC’s recent regulatory push with incentivizing competition. Chasing monopolies and calling for common carrier regulation for Internet providers are more likely to thwart competition and reduce investment in the networks of the future.

Tech is a sector which Washington hasn’t yet figured out how to put the squeeze on, like it has with insurance, medicine, and automobiles. Broadband is a nice place for them to start.