Friday, April 09, 2010

Libertarian views on network neutrality get published following appeals court ruling

Robert M. McDowell (probably no relation to the American composer!) has a great piece on the court’s FCC ruling, along Cato-like, libertarian lines, “Hands off the Internet, please”, today, Friday, April 9, link here.

His writing is blunt. He maintains that the appeals court ruled that Congress never gave the FCC the power to implement “network management” rules. He also argues that the FCC might find legal work around by analogy to old “Ma Bell” and railroad rules. An image flashes into my mind: a day in the fall of 1972, when I was working as a site rep for Sperry Univac, and I made a visit to AT&T in lower Manhattan, in the days of telephony innocence. It even reminds me of my opening job interviews with the Bell system (there were several) as I was getting out of the Army around the beginning of 1970.

McDowell warns that allowing the government to micromanage telecommunication provider policy could be a stepping stone for greater government intervention with content, aka China, although the COPA trial that I have written about places that concept into question.

Like other libertarian comments, the piece points out that a large portion of American households have effective land-based broadband, and that wireless broadband is rapidly improving in quality and reliability – and hopefully, security.

Cecilia Kang has a comment board on his article here.

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