Wired magazine’s Scott Gilbertson summarized the FTC net neutrality report by quipping, “Wait and see if it all goes south and then maybe consider doing something to fix it.”
This is a false analogy. Certainly it’s a good idea to fix something that’s bound to break, but is net neutrality really like giving the car an oil change? It would be if we had reason to believe that we were racing toward the net equivalent of engine lock-up, but the evidence for such a scenario just doesn’t add up. What evidence do we have? For more than a decade a net with many levels of access and many corresponding prices has meant more investment and a boon for all consumers.
“If it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” doesn’t apply either. The internet not only isn’t broken, it’s growing at incredible speeds and bringing the rest of the economy with it. Regulatory roll-backs like the 1996 Telecommunications Act introduced competition to network industries and gave us explosive growth in network industries. Rolling-back these roll-backs wouldn’t be a case of preventative maintenance, but breaking an engine of economic growth that’s running like a top.
Competition, not restrictive mandates, have brought us the internet that we love today. We shouldn’t turn back the clock to the early nineties when everyone had equal, yet painfully slow dial-up, access.