Remember when the Left lied to you about Net Neutrality?

by Rob Roper

One year ago the FCC repealed Obama era “net neutrality” rules that were put in place in 2015. If you recall, this move was preceded by months of wailing, rending of garments, and gnashing of teeth by the Left. They warned that without government regulations treating this 21st century phenomenon like a 19th century telephone company it would cease to exist as we know it. Greedy corporations, which had never done so in an unregulated environment, would suddenly start to screw their customers by charging outrageous fees, etc.

Flash forward. None of that happened.

In fact, quite the opposite. An excellent article on this subject by the Foundation for Economic Education notes that in the year since net neutrality was repealed,

Uninhibited by government regulations, service providers have been free to expand their fiber optic networks, allowing for greater speed:…”The internet is getting faster, especially fixed broadband internet. Broadband download speeds in the U.S. rose 35.8 percent and upload speeds are up 22 percent from last year, according to internet speed-test company Ookla in its latest U.S. broadband report.”

Vermont is not immune from this good news, despite the thankfully weak attempt by our legislature to reinstate net neutrality at the state level. Immediately following the repeal, for example, VTel announced its commitment to invest $4 million to upgrade its 4G LTE service, to begin rolling out faster mobile broadband that will allow for its transition to 5G, the next generation of wireless connectivity.

Had net neutrality been left in place, much of this would likely not have happened. If you really want to destroy the internet, make it more expensive and less dynamic, let government regulate it.

The Foundation for Economic Education article provides a great historical example of how these same good regulatory intentions, implemented for largely the same reasons of protecting consumers from greedy, price gouging corporations, utterly destroyed the railroad industry, making it more expensive and less convenient for everyone where it didn’t go out of business entirely. I encourage you to read the whole article HERE.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Izzy Simons December 19, 2018 at 11:00 pm

There is no proof that the Net Nuetrality regulation hindered developement of broadband networks, and I question the cause and affect scenario presented above.

The question really is this: should your internet service provider come between you (the customer), and the Internet in any way? Net Neutrality is what keeps or guarantees that from happening, by providing a proactive remedy.
The EAI has tendency to be fast and loose with facts in representing the corporate interests over consumers and workers.
This is no exception. A Net Neutrality vote was taken in the Senate favoring Net Neutrality, and a supporting Supreme Court decision just recently. There will be more judicial actions at the SCOTUS as state challenges make their way to it. This is not over!


Grant Christiansen December 24, 2018 at 3:28 pm

There is plenty of proof Izzy. Red Tape and government oversight means companies cannot compete and stay up to date.

There is no reason why USA is behind other countries when it comes to bandwidth availability.

2017 we made the top 10 @ #10. 2018 we are at #20. Dont fret. The free market will take care of itself. If it cannot there are plenty of examples on how the government can and will intervene if necessary.


Deanne December 21, 2018 at 11:37 pm

I just read the full article and am now updated on net neutrality. I am a staunch supporter of less government involvement across the board. Thank you for this update.

There are a lot of issues of concern to me regarding the internet, but I don’t see government intrusion as the solution.


Christopher Campion December 22, 2018 at 3:40 pm

Funny. If I want to get a cheap hamburger, I can go to Mickey D’s and get exactly that. It’ll be a hamburger, and it’ll be OK. If I want a much better hamburger, and I’m willing to pay for it, I’ll go to a Five Guys and get a great hamburger.

Making the net “neutral” is no different from the old Soviet model of mass production of crappy goods that no one wants. It pumps the brakes on choice, on the market. It slows down the market from serving all the niches and cracks of demand that inevitably occur from a mass market service – and pricing and service will align to the costs and margins involved in providing those services to the niches and cracks.

Assuming there’s one big overlying solution to everyone’s needs – to be created, administered, and overseen by government, and exploited by politicians in order to buy votes – has never, not once, worked. It results in increased costs, crappier service, and an established government bureaucracy built to support itself.

In other words, if it were a for profit service, it would fail, because it didn’t meet its customers’ needs.


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The Ethan Allen Institute is Vermont’s free-market public policy research and education organization. Founded in 1993, we are one of fifty-plus similar but independent state-level, public policy organizations around the country which exchange ideas and information through the State Policy Network.

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