Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Phony "Conservatism" and Internet Neutrality

It is time to call out the Republicans, elected and unelected, for their rabid anti-net-neutrality rhetoric. They cast themselves as small-govenment conservatives, but really they are pro-big-business monopolists. They love small-government when it keeping it small limits consumer choice and creates artificial scarcity so the big businesses that pay their bills can become even more profitable without improving their services.

Mitch McConnell's blast: "The Obama administration, which has already nationalized health care, the auto industry, insurance companies, banks, and student loans, will move forward with what could be the first step in controlling how Americans use the Internet by establishing federal regulations on its use….The Internet is an invaluable resource. It should be left alone. As Americans become more aware of what’s happening here, I suspect many will be alarmed, as I am, at the government’s intrusion. They’ll wonder, as many already do, if this is a Trojan horse for further meddling by the government."

Hogwash, or worse. Net neutrality is about your right to connect to the Internet and use it the way you want to use it. Anyone who thinks the government does not have a role in creating a level playing field for citizens, consumers, and business entrepreneurs should have to answer the question: Would you defend the right of Verizon to provide phone service only to white people, or only to Democrats? After all, Verizon owns the wires, so wasn't it a government takeover of communications back then when access rules were put in place for telephony?

Net neutrality rules are pro-business. The only reason the big telcos and their congressional and talk-radio fellow travelers don't like the rules is because they create competition in what is rapidly becoming an oligarchical business space.

The head of a small ISP has a letter in the Globe this morning that states the case very well. With giant Internet providers in control, small providers, online start-ups, and anyone who publishes media online are at the mercy of these Goliaths that serve more than 200 million Internet users.

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