Thursday, December 30, 2010

From The Wall Street Journal on Dec. 30:
On the eve of Christmas Eve, while you probably weren't paying attention, the Obama Administration released the text of its new Internet regulations, which mark a significant pivot from the hands-off approach to the Web observed by previous Republican and Democratic Administrations.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski delayed the release of the "net neutrality" order so he could incorporate rebuttals to the two dissenting commissioners, Robert McDowell and Meredith Baker, who argued that the new regulations are unnecessary and outside the agency's purview. The closer you inspect Mr. Genachowski's justifications for his FCC power grab, the weaker they look.

The Chairman cites, for example, several instances in which an Internet service provider has been accused of blocking an application that was slowing traffic on its network. But in each case the issue has been resolved to the satisfaction of everyone involved using existing law. Given the countless opportunities for such antics, the news is that the FCC can produce so few examples of alleged misbehavior.

Telecom is no different from other industries with a potential for market concentration and monopoly abuse, but the Sherman Act, the Federal Trade Commission and sundry consumer protection laws already exist to police such behavior. Nowhere in his document does Mr. Genachowski explain why these and other statutes are insufficient checks on Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and other Internet service providers.


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