Democracy & Technology Blog Don’t Fall for Net Neutrality

Separating content and conduit by force — “net neutrality” — unnecessarily exalts regulation and elevates bureaucrats over market forces. The million-word re-regulation of the industry that was the Telecom Act of 1996 resulted in the Great Telecom and Technology Crash of 2000-2003. Net neutrality risks a replay of this carnival of lawyers, micro-mis-management by apparatchik, price controls, the socialization of infrastructure and the screeching halt of innovation and investment in the “last-mile” local loop.
For years the doomsayers have said telecom will contrive content-conduit plays like the cable industry, that they will thereby reap profits from broadband content and that it will be the end of civilization as we know it. They forget that content and conduit are naturally separate. If you have the best content, you want it on everyone’s conduit. If you have the best conduit, you want everyone’s content on it. There are absolutely no synergies between creating attractive and original content and building powerful and available broadband networks. By far the most profitable product in cable is not their pathetic TV content with its endless clutter of ads and spam but their open Internet service. The market will continue to push telecom and cable to provide consumers with more choice not less.
Now with the worst regulatory excesses finally behind us, last-mile telecom investment finally poised take off, and an expectation of a deregulatory path to the future, is Congress seriously contemplating re-regulating the industry again???

George Gilder

Senior Fellow and Co-Founder of Discovery Institute
George Gilder is Chairman of Gilder Publishing LLC, located in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. A co-founder of Discovery Institute, Mr. Gilder is a Senior Fellow of the Center on Wealth & Poverty, and also directs Discovery's Technology and Democracy Project. His latest book, Life After Google: The Fall of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy (2018), Gilder waves goodbye to today's Internet.  In a rocketing journey into the very near-future, he argues that Silicon Valley, long dominated by a few giants, faces a “great unbundling,” which will disperse computer power and commerce and transform the economy and the Internet.