Monday, November 8, 2010

Biggest Loser? Net Neutrality

L. Gordon Crovitz reports in today's WSJ "that 95 candidates for Congress had signed a pledge to support 'net neutrality.' The candidates promised: 'In Congress, I'll fight to protect Net Neutrality for the entire Internet—wired and wireless—and make sure big corporations aren't allowed to take control of free speech online.'" In the last election cycle every one of those candidates lost.

Crovitz doesn't analyze why all 95 candidates lost, but I have my suspicions. "Net neutrality" is one of those shibboleths of the left about which you see impassioned discussions on DailyKos and MyDD. The only candidates who would sign such a pledge are far lefties who felt it necessary to pay homage to nutroots nation. To say this wasn't their year is an understatement.

On the issue itself, I have a hard time getting incensed one way or another, even though I find the idea of the FCC regulating the internet to be a bad one. But the the major cable companies made this particular bed for themselves by lobbying local governments for monopoly status. Amazingly enough, the issue isn't that big in Europe. Why?

Indeed, there is little discussion of net neutrality in Europe or Asia, where there is real competition among broadband providers. U.S. politicians and regulators would be better off focusing on ways to increase competition on the Internet—not looking for new ways to regulate it.

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