New York, NY —In a new book, the Manhattan Institute’s Brian Anderson argues that recent FCC rulings jeopardize the openness and innovation that have thus far been a hallmark of the Internet. In a remarkably short time, the Internet has transformed our lives—mostly for the better. America has led this revolution. Per-user Internet traffic in the United States is twice that of tech-obsessed Japan, and the price of moving data across the Internet has plummeted 30 percent a year—every year—since 2000.
In Against the Obamanet, published by Encounter Books, Anderson evaluates the decision to impose extensive regulatory controls on Internet providers. As editor of the Institute’s quarterly magazine, City Journal, Anderson has long warned of threats to media freedom stemming from government enforcement of so-called “network neutrality.”
Anderson worries the new regulations will dampen investment and stifle enterprise in a dynamic sector of the U.S. economy. Other possible effects of classifying the Internet as a utility include:
- unending litigation;
- policing of political speech;
- new tolls for Internet users
- price controls; and
- the crowding out of startups that lack the resources to cope with the complex regulation.
Anderson suggests several reforms. The FCC could be dismantled. The Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice, with their consumer-protection mandates, are more appropriate regulators of “one of the most remarkable inventions in human history.” Barring abolition of the FCC, Congress should pass a law reversing this recent power grab. With any luck, future FCC appointees will be more competition-minded.
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