Tags: Barack Obama | new york times | internet | neutrality | technology | companies

NYT: Why Won't Tech Giants Support Obama 'Net Neutrality' Push?

By    |   Tuesday, 11 Nov 2014 07:26 PM

Writers at the New York Times "Technology" section expressed regret Tuesday over the refusal of large Internet companies to rally behind President Barack Obama's support for "net neutrality."

In another era, the president’s position "might have elicited squeals of joy from the technology giants, which have long maintained that the future of innovation depends on such strict net neutrality rules," the paper says.

Instead, Google and Facebook declined direct comment on the regulations. They joined in what the Times termed a "muted" response: endorsing a statement of support for net neutrality issued by the Internet Association, a trade group representing a coalition of technology firms.

Supporters of net neutrality generated close to 3.7 million public comments to the Federal Communications Commission, many of them vociferously favoring the idea. The Times portrayed the net neutrality debate as a David vs. Goliath battle pitting "broadband behemoths" against "little guys" and "their fiercely loyal users" who say they would be damaged if industry were allowed to provide "fast lane" services to companies willing to pay more.

Free-market advocates, however, criticized the president’s call for a ban on "fast lane" services. "Premium pricing is a routine practice in most markets," James Gattuso, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, wrote at the Daily Signal. "From airline travel to theater tickets to package delivery, premium service offerings are an established, and essential, part of the business."

Gattuso took issue with the premise that millions of Americans stood to benefit from federally enforced neutrality mandates. He said that if Obama’s proposal is enacted, "the networks connecting millions of Americans to the web would be subject to thousands of regulations, requiring them to obtain FCC permission for the most basic of decisions. The nimble Internet we know would be slowed to the speed of government and the innovation level of a local water company."

In recent months, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has sought to craft regulations that strike a balance between the demands of the most ardent net neutrality advocates who favor a fast-lane ban and others who sought to have the FCC review specific practices on a case-by-case basis.

By siding with advocates of a ban, President Obama has made it much less likely that Wheeler will be able to broker a compromise between the two pro-regulation factions. For their part, Gattuso and other free-market advocates argue that that might turn out to be the best possible outcome.

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Writers at the New York Times "Technology" section expressed regret Tuesday over the refusal of large Internet companies to rally behind President Barack Obama's support for "net neutrality."
new york times, internet, neutrality, technology, companies
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2014-26-11
Tuesday, 11 Nov 2014 07:26 PM
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