Today the FCC voted 3 to 2 in favor of reversing regulations put in place just over 2 years ago. Just as with any attempt to repeal the ACA, the left is going overboard on their predictions for what will be next. This time, rather than MILLIONS WILL DIE, it’s THE INTERNET AS WE KNOW IT IS DEAD. Personally, I am a fan of as little government as possible, and this, so far, has proven to be the best course of action as long as I’ve watched. Health care existed long before the ACA, and will exist after it, just not funded by tax dollars. In the early 1970’s, my parents had my Sister, later I came along, then my Brother. I don’t remember ever hearing about my parents having to pay off their bills from the hospital from this, nor was it horrible if I chipped a tooth, got sick, one of us got hurt, we just went to the Dr/Dentist, our insurance covered a huge portion of the bill, and we paid the rest, normally out of pocket, not being billed. For example, I had to have my wisdom teeth removed around 2003, and while the procedure was very expensive, needing an oral surgeon and anesthesiologist, I paid under $100 for the entire thing, including the pain killer I was given for the first few days. Fast forward to 3 years ago, I needed 2 teeth extracted, no surgeon, but I was knocked out, and I was billed, after insurance, over $500. The only real change, the ACA passed in 2012, and as many predicted, costs went up for the consumer.
Now, look at 2015, when Net Neutrality was enacted. At the time, we didn’t have any option but a small cable company, but we paid about $30 a month to our ISP, now it’s almost $60. Regulations put a burden on the provider, and they will always pass costs onto the consumer. Yes, it’s possible that ISP’s may decide they don’t want to make it easy to watch Netflix, or that they don’t like certain websites, and I don’t agree with that practice, but the market should decide, not government, what a business may or may not do. What if the provider notices that between 5 and 8 at night, their speed is killed, and most customers are on Netflix. They see that they don’t have the ability to handle that traffic, so they limit speed to compensate, choosing to limit www.netflix.com so as to not burden those working, or doing other things. What if a college is their own ISP and chooses to limit Netflix so the library and other public terminals don’t see a slow down? In this case I’m for it. The common thread, their customers should be who decides what happens. In the first case, their customers complain, the company gives the equivalent of a shrug, their customers start switching to another provider. This ISP sees their actions losing them money, they either reverse the change, or they suffer and eventually go out of business. Think back to AOL. They censored e-mail messages critical of them, blocked some competitors’ sites/apps, and more. They are now gone, with only the holdouts with aol.com e-mail addresses as proof they once ruled the internet. Comcast decided they wanted to limit Netflix so users had to use their VOD service, now customers, instead of whining to the government and getting them to force Comcast to do what they want, will just need to switch. The advent of fiber and other technologies, simply put, means no more “we’re your only choice” for customers. The second option? The college says they are giving free internet access to help with course work, with Net Neutrality in place, the government tells them they aren’t allowed to block or limit sites even though they don’t charge, students force a college that gave them free connections to reverse a good practice. Without Net Neutrality, the college can say “we’re giving you free internet to use to study, you want Netflix, you can pay for the connection” and the students can whine and moan, but the college keeps a good practice.
Simply put, deregulation is a good thing in my mind. It always starts small, by the government simply getting out of businesses’ way, but look at the two industries most affected by past deregulation, telephone (not cell phones) and power. Growing up we had no choice but to use Southwestern Bell and TXU. Our bill could go up without notice, and they just grinned and said their costs went up. Deregulation happened, and now we have one company running the infrastructure and many running the service side. SBT, ATT, and others pay the line company, just as TXU, Reliant, and others do with Oncor in North Texas, and then sell that to consumers. As they have to compete, and the delivery company doesn’t have to worry about pricing and such, both sides benefit. TXU sells at a price low enough to entice people away from the other guys, just as SBT or ATT does, and they make some profit in the process.
Well, cable TV/Internet is the dinosaur in this scenario. Fiber is still very new on the scene, and DSL or other telephone delivery options are dying, as they should, as a technology. Sadly, only one cable provider is available in an area, for my area it’s a tiny company, while the majority of my county is Charter with a portion of it being Time Warner. As there is no competition other than Satellite/Internet for TV, they’re pretty safe. They lose my $40 or $50 a month TV plan, they still get my money for internet, which I need to watch my new TV provider. Google is working to come into new areas with Google Fiber, but having to install all the infrastructure, they’re putting out a lot of money, so they aren’t really competitive. They also are doing the same as cable companies, charging based on your speed. If Net Neutrality happens the way it’s cheerleaders want, they’ll all be told you can only charge one price, and have one package. Do you think they’ll choose the highest speed at the lowest cost? Of course not, they’ll find out the lowest speed they can get away with delivering, and charge as much as possible for it.
Yes, there will be growing pains, such as Congress having the ability to tell the FCC they can’t remove a regulatory and financial burden from companies, or those companies deciding to limit what is the most taxing on their servers, but rather than tell the government to “make it better,” why not look to the Elon Musk’s of the world and ask for a better option. In a climate so totally controlled and locked down by the government, ingenuity is stifled. Why come up with a better way to do things when you’ll not be able to afford to sell it? With this move, Musk is free to come up with a better option and sell it cheaper, which means the other guys start trying to beat that tech and sell it cheaper. The free market works people, it always has. Health care before the ACA was as cheap as possible, because Aetna knew if they didn’t treat me right, I’d switch to BCBS or another provider. ATT did me wrong on my cell plan, so I went to Sprint for 20 years, until they did too, and I moved to another provider.
Aside from wanting the government out of as much of my life as possible, I can also attest to the fact that it works not only socially, as I don’t like being told I must buy an approved health care plan, which is all but useless, but also the plans cost less, and have the needed amenities. Net Neutrality being gone means your provider must now earn your continued business, the crutch of “regulations require us to do this” is gone, and now they have to prove they’re going to do what the customer wants.
I’ve said it on every thread and story I see about health care or Net Neutrality, socialism fails every time, not because the idea is flawed, but because mankind is, and whenever you have anything socially controlled, someone at the top decides that because they’re running the show, they deserve more. Huxley warned us about dependence on technology, while Orwell warned of socialism and big brother. Sadly, both were right. We’re now so hooked on our devices for everything, that we believe the socialists when they tell us we have a “right” to be equal, so they regulate the crap out of an industry, while of course none of the rules apply to those running things. They don’t apply to the “leaders” because, simply, the “all animals are equal, some animals are more equal than others” mantra has become entrenched into the minds of those in power.
We need to get a completely new group of Representatives and Senators, and keep them as short a time as possible, to avoid that mindset, and we need to tell those selling us our daily fix of entertainment that we can get along without them, showing them that if they want us to pay, they need to make it very enticing. I’m perfectly willing to go back to books and music for a year or so, to show the Comcasts of the world they aren’t entitled to my money, only to sell a product, and hope I buy it. I’m just sadly fighting an uphill battle where the stone slips every time against a population of people half my age, dead set that I’m wrong, and evil for not agreeing with them, in fact some days, trying to inject common sense and logic isn’t preferable to pushing that rock and failing every time.