Did Regulators Break the Internet or Did They Save It? Yes.

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[Commentary] Ten years from now, we’ll look back on the moment federal regulators broke the Internet as we know it. Or we will look back on it as just another time they managed to push through a fragile, hodgepodge compromise that kept the Internet just barely functioning fairly, at least until the next telecommunications giant initiates a court case that once again casts the future of the network in doubt.

In other words, whatever happens, it’s hard to see a really great outcome to the proposal on so-called network neutrality rules that the Federal Communications Commission moved to adopt.

The FCC’s actual proposal was quite a bit more legalistically opaque than FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler suggested. Worse than that, it was all over the place. Though it’s cloaked in the language of an “open Internet,” much of the proposal can be read as an effort to let every side think it will get something out of the new rules.

Rather than come anywhere close to preventing anything, the new proposal’s main goal is to ask the public to comment on the right course for regulating Internet openness. Given the considerable technical and legal expertise necessary to even understand this issue, the FCC’s request for public comment on network neutrality seems about as useful as the Interior Department asking for public feedback on the best way to manage the Hoover Dam.

Did Regulators Break the Internet or Did They Save It? Yes.