Uh Oh, Government Could Take Away Free Mobile Content

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Ajit Pai
Ajit Pai

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai said free mobile content might violate the agency’s new Internet conduct standard. It’s unclear how this will go, but it could soon be an issue.

Pai used free music as an example.

“If you are a T-Mobile wireless customer and you have a data cap you might think, ‘well, I have to be careful about how I consume data.’ Well, T-Mobile has a program called music freedom, which exempts certain programs like Spotify and Pandora from those data caps, so if you listen to a bunch of songs when you are walking around that content does not count against your data cap,” Pai said during an Internet regulation discussion hosted by the Federalist Society.

“So, generally speaking, free content seems to be a good thing for most wireless consumers but the agency explicitly said that could be considered a net neutrality violation under the Internet conduct standard. And that simply raises the question, how far will this Internet content standard go? What kinds of business practices that innovative new competitors might want to introduce might be frowned upon by the FCC?” he added.

Companies can ask permission to give free content and the government can say ‘yay’ or ‘nay’. The government can pick winners and losers.

Mr. Pai warned of the dangers last year and earlier this year. In concocting Net Neutrality, the government invented a problem on the Internet that doesn’t exist to create a solution using authority it doesn’t have putting people in charge who do not have the expertise.

Net Neutrality can control rates of any net provider and all their relationships.

In February of this year, Mr. Pai said the 332-page net neutrality plan is a big government takeover of the Internet and will provide innumerable opportunities to add new taxes and controlling regulations.

“President Obama’s plan marks a monumental shift toward government control of the Internet. It gives the FCC the power to micromanage virtually every aspect of how the Internet works,” Pai said. “The plan explicitly opens the door to billions of dollars in new taxes on broadband…These new taxes will mean higher prices for consumers and more hidden fees that they have to pay.”

The plan hinders investment, will slow network speed and expansion, and limit growth to rural areas, the commissioner said.

“The plan saddles small, independent businesses and entrepreneurs with heavy-handed regulations that will push them out of the market,” Pai said. “As a result, Americans will have fewer broadband choices. This is no accident. Title II was designed to regulate a monopoly. If we impose that model on a vibrant broadband marketplace, a highly regulated monopoly is what we’ll get.”

The same authority that made the telephone into a public utility is the same one that will be used to make the Internet into a public utility – the 1996 Telecommunications Act.

“Courts have twice thrown out the FCC’s attempts at Internet regulation,” Pai said recalling the lawsuit that struck down the FCC’s Internet authority last year, setting off the year-long debate. “There’s no reason to think that the third time will be the charm. Even a cursory look at the plan reveals glaring legal flaws that are sure to mire the agency in the muck of litigation for a long, long time.” (RELATED: FCC Votes For New ‘Net Neutrality’ Internet Regulations)

Mr. Obama said his FCC regulations will keep the Internet ‘free and open’. In actuality, it will allow the government to dictate how web traffic flows and the government will be able to authorize paid fast lanes on the Internet in lieu of the providers.

SOURCES: PJ MEDIA and SENTINEL