‘Time to Shut Down the FCC’

Andy Kessler, former hedge fund manger and author on entrepreneurship, writes in today’s WSJ:

It’s time to close the Federal Communications Commission. This week, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski gave a speech outlining his push for net neutrality, the absurd notion that the Internet should be “open and free” when in fact it’s quite expensive to build. Net neutrality will straitjacket the U.S. economy’s single most important driver of productivity and transformation.

Besides the obvious question of whether the FCC even has the authority to regulate the Web—in April, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said it doesn’t—the agency has a long history of restraining trade. Founded in 1934 partly to regulate radio spectrum (which in reality hasn’t ever been scarce), the FCC delayed FM radio by favoring AM and television in spectrum allocation, mandated a TV network oligopoly by restricting station ownership, and kept long-distance rates too high for decades by forcing operators to subsidize local telephone costs. Now, because of bad bandwidth policy, it limits what smart phones can really do.

Mr. Genachowski claims his Internet regulation efforts are based on “shared appreciation for the Internet’s wondrous contributions to our economy and our way of life.” His rules of the road state that consumers and innovators have a right to: know basic information about broadband service; send and receive lawful Internet traffic; visit the sites they want and say what they want online using the devices of their choice; and a level playing field.

The rest here.

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