Rep. Marsha Blackburn (TN), a Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee and leader against net neturality, recently gave an interview on the topic to CNBC. The FCC approved net neutrality rules today but Republicans like Blackburn are ready to fight back when they take back power in January. Blackburn spoke with bloggers today about her bill -- H.R. 3924 -- that will do just that. Read an excerpt of the CNBC interview here:
LL: Should the Government have the right to have such reach into the internet?
MB; There are certainly cases where the government may need to “reach into the internet”. Law enforcement activity is a prime example of this. As a routine matter to regulate, support, or level the virtual marketplace, I don’t there is any need for the government to intervene. “Net Neutrality” advocates, including the FCC Chairman argue that the government should intervene to prevent possible anti-competitive activities by Internet Service Providers. I don’t recall any other time that the federal government has established regulations to guard against hypothetical situations. Further, most of the activities that “net neutrality” seem concerned about are already addressed by FTC regulations.
LL: "Net Neutrality" proponents have been calling for strong regulation of the inner workings of the internet for years. What kind of impact will this have on the industry?
MB: What they are talking about amounts to a nationalization of the internet. Essentially, the Internet Service Providers have leased the bandwidth they need for the Internet’s architecture from the federal government. Now, retroactively, the government is coming back in to change the terms of the lease. Such uncertainty is a disincentive to the ISPs to improve, maintain, or expand their architecture. Currently the ISPs invest $60 billion a year in maintaining and expanding their Internet architecture. Much of that money will dry up after these regulations passed. It is also hinders innovation. ISPs have no interest in developing faster speeds if they can’t charge a premium for those speeds. Consequently, “net neutrality” can be seen as putting an unintended cap on domestic Internet capacity.
Blackburn also published an op/ed today at Real Clear Politics. Read an excerpt of "FCC Grabs a Christmas Nightmare" here:
There's no such thing as hospice for federal bureaucracies. No quiet corner where bureaus who have outlived their usefulness can go to bravely face the end. The undead need no such niceties; not when they can leap vampire-like upon the next great sector of American life and proceed to suck it dry in the name of "public interest", "fair play", or any other euphemistic glamour the Executive and Legislative branches can be lulled into.
This may sound like a Halloween tale, but the FCC's Christmas Week takeover of the Internet is the best example of President Reagan's maxim that the nearest thing to eternal life on Earth is a federal program.