Reply To: 28 Feb 2015 – The FCC Voted for Net Neutrality
Government does very few things well at all. As ScreenScream mentioned, the PATRIOT Act was antipatriotic (by limiting essential rights, primarily but not limited to Amendment IV) and the PP&ACA turned out to be anything but affordable. All I can say is, ironically the Internet provides a much easier means (rather than say going to a library) of researching exactly what happened to get us in this mess to begin with, yet citizens still elect politicians who SOUND like they’re in the best interest of the citizens, but long term they really aren’t.
Many economists relate that there is no such thing as a natural monopoly, that they’re government-created, and that market solutions in virtually all cases are better. This is demonstrated fairly well by AT&T. After Bell’s patents expired, numerous competing phone companies sprang up in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. They had to provide the best services at the best prices in order to have the most customers. However, (primarily) AT&T President Theodore Newton Vail convinced the government that allowing all these competitors was duplication and hindered having nationwide phone services, and what was needed was one consistently built out phone system. Just look up/read up on the Kingsbury Commitment, and read how it sounded great that it should have controlled the extent of the AT&T monopoly, but had the exactly opposite effect of strengthening it. The exchange was being able to establish a government-sanctioned monopoly for being heavily regulated. But that didn’t help much because shortly after being established, competition dwindled and prices rose. So basically it was government mucking around with business which caused the problem in the first place, and now they’re trying more regulations to fix it.
If there were healthy competition, any perceived poor service from any one ISP can be remedied by simply switching to a provider with better policies, services, and prices. But as-is, the typical choices are the telco and the cableco, and many would argue two choices (the supposed natural monopolies for phone and cable TV) is barely any choice at all.
The pity is that like so much regulation and legislation, it’s framed in a way that sounds really good to large portions of the (voting) public (the Internet should be free (as in freedom,not cost) and unadulterated by the carriers), but they don’t go beyond politicians’ slogans and do research and long-term thinking. Then when things actually turn out to be worse, it’s often too late to undo what was done. Look at how long the phone monopoly has had a stranglehold on the public. It’s that phone system which provides one of the two major Internet connection methods (xDSL).