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The FCC’s Net Neutrality Victory Is Anything But


The day after the FCC’s net neutrality vote, Washington was downright frigid. I’d spoken at three events about the ruling, mentioning at each that the order could be overturned in court. I was tired and ready to go home.

I could see my Uber at the corner when I felt a hand on my arm. The woman’s face was anxious. “I heard your talk,” she said.“If net neutrality is overturned, will I still be able to Skype with my son in Turkey?”

The question reveals the problem with the supposed four million comments submitted in support of net neutrality. *Almost no one really gets it. *Fewer still understand Title II, the regulatory tool the FCC just invoked to impose its conception of net neutrality on the Internet.

Some internet engineers and innovators do get it. Mark Cuban rightly calls the uncertainty created by Title II a “Whac-a-Mole environment,” driven by political whims. And telecom lawyers? They love it: whatever happens, the inevitable litigation will mean a decade’s worth of job security.

As I’ve said in technically detailed comments, academic coalition letters, papers, and even here at Wired, while “”net neutrality”” sounds like a good idea, it isn’t. And reclassifying the internet under Title II, an antiquated set of laws repurposed in the 1930s for Ma Bell, is the worst way to regulate dynamic digital services.

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