Are ‘net neutrality’ rules a fed takeover of the Internet or a sell-out?

December 23, 2010 by Amara D. Angelica

Who will control the Internet? (Image: Opte project)

“The Federal Communications Commission’s new ‘net neutrality’ rules, passed on a partisan 3-2 vote [Monday, Dec. 20], represent a huge win for a slick lobbying campaign run by liberal activist groups and foundations,” says Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund. “The losers are likely to be consumers who will see innovation and investment chilled by regulations that treat the Internet like a public utility.

“There’s little evidence the public is demanding these rules, which purport to stop the non-problem of phone and cable companies blocking access to websites and interfering with Internet traffic. Over 300 House and Senate members have signed a letter opposing FCC Internet regulation, and there will undoubtedly be even less support in the next Congress.”

Proponents of net neutrality disagree. “The new rules are, at best, net semi-neutrality,” counters a New York Times editorial. “They ban any outright blocking and any ‘unreasonable discrimination’ of Web sites or applications by fixed-line broadband providers, but they afford more wiggle room to wireless providers like AT&T and Verizon… . A wide swath of public interest groups have lambasted the proposal as ‘fake net neutrality’ and said it was rife with loopholes.”

As the Times points out, the FCC rules will be tested in the courts in the months ahead, and Republicans said that they would challenge the rules in Congress as well.

So are the new net neutrality rules a socialist takeover of the Internet or a gutless compromise with wireless providers (or something else)? Your opinion?