Remember using the rotary phone? How about listening to the other-worldly humming, beeping and cracking of dial-up Internet? What about a bag phone?
Unless you are Gen X or earlier, you probably have no recollection of any of those things. And, while we can sometimes wax nostalgically for the good-old-days when our teenagers actually looked at us instead of at a smart phone, it is amazing to think how far the Internet has already come and where broadband will take us in the future.
For decades, the know-it-alls in Washington DC have had the good sense to let the free market handle the explosive growth in the Internet economy. The laissez-faire approach has not just been a success; it’s brought on a revolutionary advancement in technology that is still happening today.
We all have access to broadband that is faster and less expensive than it was even a year ago. And, we have multiple choices from mobile to wireless to wired.
That all changed last month when President Obama cajoled his party’s appointees to the Federal Communications Commission to vote to regulate the Internet using rules developed in 1934 for the rotary phone.
Only in the mind of a Washington bureaucrat can the concept of applying a depression-era regulatory scheme to the fast-evolving broadband ecosystem make any sense at all.
The end result of this government invasion on the Internet is predictable. Companies will stop taking risks, investment will dry up and the dizzying pace of advancement we’ve grown accustomed to will come to a screeching halt.
And, here’s a little hidden gem. The FCC’s actions could open our broadband service up to all those wonderful taxes and fees that come with traditional phone bills.
Lawyers are already on the case of trying to overturn the rule. But, destruction of the Internet as we know it might be a bridge too far for even Democrats in Congress who ought to be more emboldened to cut bait on the lame duck in the White House. Let’s hope Congress can get its act together and return us to the bipartisan consensus that helped usher in the Internet age.