The FCC Wants to Let Telecoms Cash In on the Internet

[Commentary] The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission wants to let Comcast, Verizon and other broadband companies turn the internet into a latter-day version of cable TV, in which they decide what customers can watch and how much they pay for that content. That might sound like a far-fetched scenario. But there is reason to fear that some version of that awful vision could become a reality, because most Americans have just one or two choices for broadband access at home. People have access to four national wireless companies, but those connections tend to be slower and less useful for data-intensive applications than wired service provided by cable and telephone companies. Instead of making sure that broadband companies can’t take advantage of their gatekeeping power over the internet, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai wants to let them do whatever they want. Ultimately, Chairman Pai and his colleagues will have to defend this proposal in federal court, where, experts say, judges will be very skeptical of his rationale for getting rid of net neutrality rules and putting nothing in their place. It is clear that he has already lost the argument in the court of public opinion. Americans have made clear that they much prefer the internet to cable TV; in the third quarter of this year, about a million people got rid of their cable and satellite TV service.


The FCC Wants to Let Telecoms Cash In on the Internet