There are many problems with the public conversation surrounding the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) net neutrality rule-making: The public discourse struggles to rise above simple catch-phrases, popular antipathy against broadband providers clouds good decision-making and the increasing politicization of tech issues drives policy-by-ideology over rigorous analysis of available trade-offs. But one problem stands out among the rest — we aren't actually arguing about net neutrality. Instead of fiddling with a variety of jurisdictional hooks, none of which are quite right for the job, the FCC should take a step back and allow this problem to be solved the right way — through legislation.
On Net Neutrality, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler Had It Right the First Time
Even by the measure of the typical circus that is the net neutrality debate, the past few weeks have been busy. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler offered a widely-panned “trial balloon” on a hybrid approach, attempting to combine both available jurisdictional hooks to hang his net neutrality rules. But, he was quickly upstaged by President Obama’s statement announcing his support for “the strongest possible rules” protecting the open Internet by using Title II. Somehow we have lost sight of a simple fact: Wheeler’s net neutrality approach was right the first time.
A Super-Wrong Way To Understand Net Neutrality
Net neutrality is a complicated issue, but is it too much to expect journalists to get it at least mostly right when they write about it? Apparently so. Case in point is Neil Irwin's New York Times article “A Super-Simple Way to Understand the Net Neutrality Debate.” Simple, and simply wrong.