Special-interest groups are calling for public-utility regulations to be placed on the Internet — the most innovative and society-shaping deregulatory success story of our time. These people are trying to exert control over the Internet through “net neutrality” regulations that will likely benefit only a few huge Internet companies and the top 1 percent of Internet users.
Net neutrality was developed to ensure that Internet users had the freedom to view all the legal content they wanted. Recently, however, there has been a shift in focus: Some of the largest Internet companies are citing “net neutrality” as a reason to enshrine specific privileges that largely benefit them.
If these content companies get their way — and the Federal Communications Commission is now deliberating this — Americans will be forced to shoulder the costs for the high-speed networks and infrastructure upgrades needed to support high-volume Internet traffic generators, such as Netflix.
The math is simple. As a network carries more traffic, it has to grow or it will become congested. To expand a network requires significant investment and expense — tens of billions of dollars a year in the case of Internet service providers (ISPs).
These costs can be recovered in two ways: Either by charging all consumers equally or by having the large companies that use far more of the network resources pay their fair share.