The Attack on Net Neutrality Is Just One Small Part of a Much Bigger, Dumber Plan

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Internet users have been justly outraged by the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to ignore the public and repeal net neutrality rules. But few media outlets or internet users seem to understand that the net neutrality repeal is just one small part of a massive, larger plan to eliminate nearly all meaningful federal and state oversight of some of the least-liked and least-competitive companies in America. To be clear: the net neutrality repeal itself is awful policy that ignores both the will of the public and the people who built the damn internet. It eliminates a wide variety of consumer protections that prevent incumbent ISPs from abusing a lack of competition in the broadband market. But it’s actually much worse.  There’s another angle to the FCC’s “Restoring Internet Freedom” proceeding that should be even more worrying. A big part of the FCC’s plan involves rolling back the FCC’s tailor-made authority over broadband providers, then shoveling all remaining government oversight to the Federal Trade Commission ill-equipped to handle it. Why is that a problem? The FTC has no rule-making ability, and can only move to protect consumers after a violation has occurred. And that action can only occur if it’s painfully clear that an ISP engaged in “unfair and deceptive” behavior, something that’s easy for an ISP to dodge in the net neutrality era, where anti-competitive behavior is often buried under faux-technical jargon and claims that it was done only for the health and safety of the network.


The Attack on Net Neutrality Is Just One Small Part of a Much Bigger, Dumber Plan