September 30, 2009
New FCC Chairman Targets internet
By James G. Lakely
New Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski could have used a few more dollops of genuine humility in his Monday speech advocating enforceable “network neutrality” rules for the Internet. Despite declaring “we cannot know what tomorrow holds on the Internet,” he showed he intends to lead the FCC as if it were all-knowing. That will only end up choking the greatest engine of innovation in modern times.
Genachowski laid out his plans in a highly anticipated speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC. The mostly voluntary concept of net neutrality — which encourages the free flow of content across the Internet — would be transformed into formal rules Internet service providers (ISPs) would violate at their peril.
Instead of managing traffic in response to market forces, ISPs would be forced to cede such decisions to the FCC, which would decide which practices are “fair” and “reasonable” on a “case-by-case basis.” But it would be foolish to replace the swift judgment of millions of consumers with the dictates of a handful of slow-footed, uninformed, unaccountable bureaucrats.