Why Ajit Pai’s decision to kill Obama’s FCC network neutrality is good


Sometimes you have to wonder what candid people they have when they grind their teeth and brush their hair at President Trump's blockade or revoking an Obama-era regulation.

The last cries of anguish about anarchy and the apocalypse of the market are heard over an announcement by the Federal Communications Commission that it will reverse the "neutrality of the network".

The dubious value of net neutrality is made evident by the deceptive way in which the Democrats and many news media reported the decision. "F.C.C. plans the derogation of net neutrality in a victory for telecommunications," wrote the New York Times . Lacked the headline or lede was that the decision was a loss for Netflix, Amazon, Google and other corporate giants that provide content.

This is the Democratic line. By describing deregulation as a bonanza for large companies and hiding the success achieved by some of the larger businesses (see above), these partial accounts avoid debating the issue on its merits and are reduced to demagoguery, where they feel comfortable. This is a pattern established with network neutrality. When the FCC voted in 2015 to impose net neutrality rules, the text of the relevant rule was not published until after the vote.

Then, let's see the merits. The neutrality of the network is, in general, good in principle, since it establishes the law that the networks on which we obtain information must not discriminate between one type of information and another. For example, it would be incorrect for AT & T to prevent its Internet customers from seeking prices charged by other cell phone providers. I would not want Comcast to block access to articles complaining about its customer service.

But such a general principle is often not better codified in a written regulation.

One reason is that the market will take care of the wrongdoers. Comcast would lose Internet customers if, for example, it would only allow those customers to see MSNBC (Comcast's sister company).

Net neutrality regulation also effectively prohibits competing business models, which are good for customers and the economy in general. The competing business models allow for experimentation and this leads to the suppliers to better serve the customers by satisfying their needs more precisely.

Consider the "fast lanes" of the Internet. As telemedicine becomes an increasingly important part of medical care, would not your surgeon like to be able to buy access to an express lane in which a network can grant privileges to certain data over others? That is, AT & T should be allowed to provide a service in which the bytes of data flowing between an operating theater and a surgeon take priority over the bytes of 100 users searching on Google if Jennifer Lawrence is married.

Consumers may prefer neutrality. But guess that? If they do, many network providers will offer more neutral business models. Others will offer a model based on levels. Portugal does not have network neutrality regulations, and mobile Internet providers offer mainly packages, where you pay to have access to an online service package.

Why is it better for the federal government than for clients to decide how data should be managed by networks? It is disconcerting that the option to control the flow of government data is welcome, especially at a time when so many people are going crazy because of the silly fear that Trump is an authoritarian anti-free-speech.

The FCC movement last week left Internet business models to compete in the marketplace instead of competing in smoke-filled halls to the favor of regulators. This deserves everyone's applause, except for those who love regulation as a good in itself.

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