It hasn’t taken very long for Congress to realize that the burdensome regulations of net neutrality are impeding American innovation. Now, they just need to start peeling them back.
On Thursday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved a bill that would extend exemptions from net neutrality standards for small businesses. In particular, the bill would allow small ISPs (those with less than 250,000 subscribers) to waive certain transparency requirements for 5 years. These transparency requirements include the presentation of copious amounts of information deemed necessary to provide access to, such as data caps, speed during peak usage, and any degradation of services.
Everyone is regarding this bill as a step in the right direction. Both Democrats and Republicans, who struck a compromise in crafting the bill (Republicans first wanted a permanent extension), believe this proposal will get enough support to pass through Congress. The American Cable Association has also praised the effort, as ACA President Matt Polka has noted that “smaller ISPs, which already need to comply with existing transparency rules and other onerous Open Internet requirements, need the certainty that only a long-term exemption can provide. They can then use their scarce resources to invest in their networks and provide innovative, advanced services to their subscribers.”
The evidence is clear: small businesses can better develop their company on the internet when there are fewer regulations holding them back, and the American people want to let this happen. This begs the question, though, why implement such onerous regulations in the first place? If Congress is going to keep rolling back the regulations put in place through net neutrality rules, shouldn’t they all be suspended? Certainly, there is enough support behind such an effort, with Senator Mike Lee and other legislators leading the way. Once these regulations are repealed, innovation will flourish, and customers will have access to much greater content through much more preferable methods.
If net neutrality is bad for small businesses, then it is bad for consumers. The ruse of consumer protection must then be revealed, so that the Internet may once again become a place of innovation and commerce.