The ink is barely dry on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) “Net Neutrality” takeover of the Internet and the first of many predictions about government control appear to be coming true.
As FCC commissioner Ajit Pai warned before FCC chairman Tom Wheeler’s Internet power grab became “law”, bureaucrats within the FCC have been loosed on the Internet.
Their mission… their goal… their reason for being is to dream up new ways to break the rich Internet piñata and shake loose billions of dollars in new taxes and fees to fund “free” Internet access for favored Democrat constituencies, redistribute wealth and provide the FCC with the resources it needs to do both.
During a recent appearance on Newsmax TV and punctuated in an interview on radio’s “The Steve Malzberg Show”, FCC commissioner Ajit Pai revealed that:
“The president said…on WhiteHouse.gov, this is my plan and I’m asking the FCC to implement it. On the day the FCC took the vote on Feb. 26, the Democratic National Committee put out a tweet saying, Hooray! The FCC has approved President Obama’s plan.”
“Now, you cannot square those two statements from those two entities with the notion that the FCC was acting independently” Pai said. “The position I’ve taken is that this was a break from our traditional position as an independent agency.”
“Even if the president’s opinion was one among many, nonetheless, it’s hard to argue that his opinion was equal. Certainly, some opinions in this process were more equal than others.”
Stretching incredulity, Chairman Wheeler (appointed by President Barack Obama) testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform this past Tuesday that:
“I would like to be clear: There were no secret instructions from the White House. I did not, as CEO of an independent agency, feel obligated to follow the president’s recommendation.”
Expressing understanding but not approval, Commissioner Pai said:
“I have some sympathy for the chairman’s position having proposed something in May, having tried out an alternative in the summer, just to get blindsided in November by the president and ultimately having to buckle. It doesn’t speak well for the agency when we have these political considerations that are placed on us.”
With respect to new taxes and fees on Internet service, Pai said:
“They’re going to be a number of different effects over the coming months and years … Most immediately what is going to happen is that the FCC has now explicitly opened the door to an increase in the tax that is going to be placed on broadband.”
“I would imagine in the next month or two we’re going to see for the first time taxes placed on broadband bills. Your bill is going to go up. In the longer term, some of the more incidental effects are going to be a reduction to the amount of competition. Some of the smaller Internet service providers are going to find it more difficult to stay in.”
That’s not all.
The rising cost of Internet use under FCC control will not stop with government imposed taxes and fees. These costs to consumers will be dwarfed by the states who are chomping at the bit to collect sales taxes Internet purchases.
Brick and mortar stores have long complained that consumers visit retail stores to “touch and feel” products only to go home and buy them on the Internet – sidestepping state and local sales taxes that could make purchases cost prohibitive.
Republican lawmakers are busy crafting legislation to nullify Chairman Wheeler’s “Net Neutrality” Internet power grab but the legislation will likely face a veto if it makes its’ way to President Obama’s desk.
In the meantime, Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) will have to settle for legal action and hoped for court injunctions to stop FCC control of the Internet from taking effect – resources that will not be available to innovate, invent and invest in new Internet technologies.