The Internet is pretty awesome. Thirty years ago, the idea that a decentralized network of millions of users and dozens of service providers could actually work in a functional way would seem crazy. Yet, the World Wide Web has triumphed as ultimate proof that markets work with minimal government regulation. From the work of millions of self-interested actors has emerged an awning electronic dimension where people can interact, learn, play, shop, and watch, at a minimal cost.
Apparently, not for the federal government. On Monday, President Barack Obama urged the Federal Communications Commission to saddle Internet service providers (ISPs) with many of the same burdensome regulations that telephone companies have to comply with. Why would the president seek to regulate a network that seems to be working efficiently without the government? The answer, unsurprisingly, is cronyism.
For years, Internet giants like Facebook, Google, and Netflix have been pushing for network neutrality to avoid paying for the traffic their users hog from ISPs. As it currently stands, Netflix and YouTube account for half of all peak-hour download traffic in the United States, often leading to slow buffering speeds during prime hours. As a result, some ISPs have sought to provide better service to their customers by suggesting that the Netflix and YouTubes of the world pay slightly more for their users to stream videos faster — a pretty clear-cut win for customers if ever there was one.
Written by Casey Given- Rare Contributor
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