Washington Post columnist Robert Samuelson wasn't too fond of the Federal Communications Commission decision to regulate Internet service more strictly.
And he offered an interesting comparison to critique the decision — railroad regulations. "There are obvious parallels between the Internet today and the railroads in the late 19th century," he writes.
"Like the railroads then, the Internet today is the great enabling technology of the age. Like the railroads then, Internet companies inspire awe and dread. And now there’s another parallel: the resort to regulation."
And what about the FCC decision to ensure Internet neutrality by forbidding Internet service providers from charging content providers extra to transmit their content faster and by regulating the Internet like a public utility? "Be skeptical," Samuelson suggests.
"The FCC’s new rules weaken — or reverse — decades of minimal regulation, during which the Internet flourished. As often as not, economic regulation has adverse, unintended side effects. That was true of the railroads, and it may be true of the Internet."
Former FCC Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth, now a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, wasn't too hot on the FCC decision either.
Legal challenges are likely. But, "those looking to the courts to protect the American consumer and Silicon Valley from the excesses of the FCC are likely to be disappointed," Furchtgott-Roth writes on MarketWatch.
And the results won't be pretty, he says.
"The power of the FCC under network neutrality to regulate the Internet, if not constrained by judges, will be neither light nor lenient. Friends can be helped and enemies punished, but the discretion to use the power will reside in Washington, not Silicon Valley."
Before, Internet companies competed against each other for business with "better products, better services and better ideas," Furchtgott-Roth says. "Under the new Internet, one seeks to have a Washington bureaucracy hobble a rival. . . . Consumers are the collateral damage."
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