Not Neutrality

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I woke up this morning and something was wrong. I didn’t feel any different, but I knew something was wrong. I just couldn’t put my finger on it. Then, I tried logging onto the Internet…and it was just fine. No delays, no demands for money. Just an easy logon. Then, I figured out what was wrong.

The proponents of Net Neutrality had brought Y2K back.

Seriously, was there any doubt the pro-Net Neutrality side were going to wind up with a hatchery’s worth of eggs on their faces? Anyone with a lick of common sense could have figured out the “Net Neutrality will save the Internet” line was bogus from the get go. Then again, common sense in today’s society is like finding a unicorn in your Lucky Charms.

I have a series of immutable laws that have been developed over years of observation and repetition. One of these laws is the more one side has to rely on fear to make a point, the less likely that point is valid. And Net Neutrality is pretty much all fearmongering. As it plays out, the pro-NN side wants you to believe each ISP owner is only concerned about making money and doesn’t give a tenth of a damn about the little guy. Nothing could be further from the truth. Basic economics says if you price something out of people’s ability to pay it, you lose customers and, get this, revenue. For the Net Neutrality advocates to be right, ISPs would have to literally go against their best interests.

If that wasn’t insane enough, Net Neutrality doesn’t even address the problem it seeks to solve. Granted, one of the NN provisions is transparency, but if you’re dishonest, you can find ways to hide bad behavior in plain sight and no one will be the wiser. Case in point: Harvey Weinstein. It gets even harder to be transparent when the entity controlling the Internet is the federal government. You shouldn’t need a Freedom of Information Act filing to find out if you’re getting the fastest speed for your area, but with Net Neutrality, it’s only a step or two away from that bureaucratic nightmare.

You know who has solved the problem? Cell phone providers. Thanks to technological advances, we can now stay connected to the Internet almost anywhere around the world using our cell phones. And if we need Internet access, our phones can turn into WiFi hotspots or we can buy gadgets that can do the same thing. And you thought having the Internet at your fingertips was only good for winning bar bets!

Cell phone providers have rendered the problems Net Neutrality sought to address obsolete. And if you think it merely shifts the power from ISPs to Verizon, et al, remember cell phone providers also are bound by the laws of economics.

Above all else, Net Neutrality fails to take into account the concept of competition. Back in the day, I would take my laptop with me to visit my parents and I had to deal with the slow and spotty Internet of being in a small town in northeast Iowa. Although this might seem to be an example of how Net Neutrality could be good, it’s actually not. Satellite technology has made Internet access available to people in rural areas as well as urban areas, and it can be bundled with existing satellite TV providers like Dish and DirectTV for only a marginal monthly fee.

Wow! It’s almost as if the free market has an answer for the problems Net Neutrality proponents find, because, well, it has! And it will continue to do so for long after we’ve gotten past the point where the Internet is the go-to for information, entertainment, directions, gaming, and great blog posts like this one. Okay, so that last one may be a bit sketchy, but you get the idea.

Now if only the Net Neutrality supporters would.

Author: Thomas

I'm a small town boy living in the heart of Iowa watching the world go by with my wife and dog.