Today Barack Obama’s hand-picked FCC chairman laid out his rational for taxing and regulating the internet. It’s because AOL’s Steve Case ate his lunch back in the 80’s.
I personally learned the importance of open networks the hard way. In the mid-1980s I was president of a startup, NABU: The Home Computer Network. My company was using new technology to deliver high-speed data to home computers over cable television lines. Across town Steve Case was starting what became AOL. NABU was delivering service at the then-blazing speed of 1.5 megabits per second—hundreds of times faster than Case’s company. “We used to worry about you a lot,” Case told me years later.
But NABU went broke while AOL became very successful.
Steve Case built a better mousetrap. Tom Wheeler went into government.
Vengence is mine, sayeth the Obamabots.
Tom Wheeler failed at business. So he’s going to punish everyone who has managed to succeed.
That’s the whole story. Sour grapes. Because the thing is, the problem Tom Wheeler’s 1980s company encountered won’t be alleviated by his definition of Net Neutrality.
My proposal will modernize Title II, tailoring it for the 21st century, in order to provide returns necessary to construct competitive networks. For example, there will be no rate regulation, no tariffs, no last-mile unbundling.
Can you guess what NABU needed to make its cable internet venture successful?
Last mile unbundling.
Tom Wheeler needed the government to seize the private property of cable operators to make his dreams a reality. He needed free access to the wires coming into your house so he could put his magic gizmos on them. The very thing he’s saying he won’t demand.
But the fact remains, he didn’t want to pay for those wires. He didn’t want to rent those wires. He wanted them to be handed to him, on a silver platter, for free.
So why isn’t he now requiring last mile unblundling as part of his Net Neutrality initiative?
Because regulating the internet is only the first step. Nationalizing the internet is his, and his president’s goal. Total government control of what you download, what you see, and where your surf. For your own good, of course.
We used to call that censorship. Now it’s called Obamunism.
Imagine if the internet was an actual highway. (Remember Al Gore and his “information superhighway?”) Along the highway are billboards. Some of those billboards are bigger than others. Some are brighter. Some are closer to the road. Tom Wheeler’s billboard is in the next county. Nobody sees it. So his “solution?” Force you to drive on a 2 lane dirt road just so you do see it.
That’s Net Neutrality. Every billboard is equal.
Except, that’s not how America works.
Net Neutrality means everybody’s internet is equally slow.
You want to pay for faster internet? Sorry, you can’t. Because some schlub in Cleveland might be sad if he finds out his internet is slower than yours.
Adding insult to injury — the 16.1% tax Tom Wheeler is going to impose on your monthly internet bill.
Think of of it as Obamacare for the internet. He’ll tax you to subsidize broadband for “the underserved.” I’ll leave you to imagine how the population of the underserved intersects with the population of slacker Obama voters.
They want free internet. And Tom Wheeler and Barack Obama want you to pay for it.
There’s the dirty secret behind Net Neutrality. You pay. Obamabots get free downloads.
And Tom Wheeler gets to use his government position to stick it to Steve Case’s progenitors, so he can exact his pound of flesh and pretend he “won.”
The thing is, Steve Case did more to build and perfect the internet than Tom Wheeler ever could. And in 1,000 years, when history looks back at this era, Steve Case will be lauded as a visionary, while Tom Wheeler and Barack Obama will be forgotten, if not vilified and ridiculed for their pettiness.
Small comfort, for sure, when you and I are writing the checks.