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  • If the FCC Had Regulated the Internet

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    The most common myth that appears in “net neutrality” debates, even ones that appear in our comment section, is that the internet needs regulation in order to stay “neutral.” In reality, the internet is as open and adaptive as it is because it has been free of government regulation. Slate’s Jake Shafer has fun with this fact with “A counterfactual history of cyberspace” that explores what could have happened “If the FCC Had Regulated the Internet.

    Read the whole thing (and our own “net neutrality” research here), but here are some good excerpts:

    In January 1993, idle regulators at the FCC belatedly discover the burgeoning world of online services. Led by CompuServe, MCI Mail, AOL, GEnie, Delphi, and Prodigy, these services have been embraced by the computer-owning public. … The FCC declares that because these private networks use the publically regulated telephone system, they fall under the purview of the Communications Act of 1934. The commission announces forthcoming plans to regulate the services in the “public interest, convenience, and necessity.”

    In late 1993, AOL and Delphi become the first online services to offer the Internet. The FCC orders both to drop the feature until the FCC’s labs approve it.

    “We can’t have the online industry pushing out beta software on unsuspecting customers willy-nilly. Such software could compromise the users’ computers, interfere with other users’ computers, or crash the whole online world,” the FCC chairman says.

    Because the Web has yet to catch on, eBay, Amazon, and ESPN.com do not launch in 1995. Michael Kinsley, who had been working with AOL on a proposed online magazine, returns to the New Republic as editor when AOL cancels the project.

    In mid-2000, Andreessen has his first stroke of luck in almost a decade when Apple Computer hires him to join the team designing the original iPod. Andreessen’s first idea is to scale the iPod up. Instead of being just another MP3 player, the iPod should become a multipurpose computer that can accept text input, take photos, record video, make phone calls, and, yes, yes, yes, connect to his beloved Internet through its telephone connection.

    Steve Jobs meets with Andreessen in an Apple cafeteria over coffee.

    “You’re brilliant, kid,” says Jobs. “But the FCC would never allow us to enter the mobile-phone racket. Besides, their plan is for all existing mobile phones to become Minitel compliant and Internet ignorant.”

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    13 Responses to If the FCC Had Regulated the Internet

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    5. George Colgrove, VA says:

      Very good summary. We need more of this kind of stuff.

      "What if. . ." scenarios when using facts like you have can be very helpful when attempting to expose the lies, the fraud, and the corruption within the federal government.

      The more people know of the ineptitude of the federal government and shear desire to grab as much unwarranted and needless power and financial resources from the American people, the closer we will get to freedom.

      "2012: Lets be Fed-Free!"

      "2012: Lets go on a Fed-Free Diet!"

    6. Lloyd Scallan (New O says:

      It's very simple! Obama must "regulate" the internet to stop the truth from getting to the American people. The main-stream media has been exposed as lackeys

      for Obama thus their creditability is at it's lowest point in history. The Obama led

      FCC must "regulate " the internet to stop the truth about who and what Obama is

      from continuing to get to a free people. Once again they will do or say anything

      to "tranform" this country into Obama's dream of socialism.

    7. Roland Balloun says:

      Probably would have been worse. I urge Congress to close the door on the FCC.

    8. Robert Nipper Portla says:

      I'm noticing a trend…total control of our lives by this Regime in Washington DC! Let's make a list: Control Internet and Television content to ensure only information Obama wants to disseminate gets out, control school curriculum to dumb down our children, control health care to commence population control, control banking to prevent self sufficiency or self determination, control travel via high gas prices and TSA intrusion (destroying American Tourism). gun control (starting with the M1), weakening our defenses (The Start Treaty), obliterating our borders (making Arizona's attempt to protect themselves from alien invasion an international civil rights issue). I recently heard a poll result that said Obama was the most admired person in the United States! Why?

    9. Mary Mahonan says:

      He is considered the most admired person in the US because of liberal colleges and what they teach — globalism. They are taught to be tolerant of everything, doesn't matter if it's wrong. Christians are persecuted today for their beliefs. Environmental gobbleygook. Even back when I was in high school, – late 70's, I had an American History teacher who said "Do you think capitalism is best?? don't discount socialism. It is better in many ways!!!" We are in big trouble. I never had an interest in politics until the usurper came into power. Get prepared.

    10. ROBERT 78 says:

      F.C.C. DON'T INVENTED INTERNET !, OBAMA DON'T INVENTED INTERNET EITHER !. SOMEONE DID INVENTED INTERNET FROM AMERICANS !.

      INTERNET ALREADY USING ALL OVER THE WORLD !!.

      WHY DID OBAMA AND F.C.C. WANTS TO CONTROL AMERICA ONLY INSTEAD OF THE WORLD COUNTIRES ??. SUPPOSE IF F.C.C. CONTROL WORLD COUNTRIES, WE WOULD LOVES TO SEE THE WORLD COUNTRIES SMASH UP TO F.C.C. AND OBAMA COMPLETELY !. THIS CAN BE HAPPENS FROM THE WORLD PEOPLE !.

      INTERNET JUST LIKE TV SHOWS BUT " WE THE PEOPLE " ALREADY KNEW THAT COMMUNIST OBAMA AND F.C.C. CONTROL TV NEWS JUST LIKE IN RUSSIA AND CHINA AND NORTH KOREA NO FREEDOMS ."WE THE PEOPLE" WILL START ACTIONS IN 2011 !! ., NEWS PAPERS, RADIOS ETC ETC. SOONER "WE THE PEOPLE WILL CRUSH OBAMA AND HIS GANGSTERS AND BILDERBERGS AND LIBERALISM DEMOCRATS. JUST WAIT AND SEE TILL 2011 WE SHALL ROLLING UP OUR SLEVES AND OBAMA AND GANGSTERS WILL HEAR FROM US ALL AMERICANS !

    11. Zonk Lanzillo says:

      Robert (Nipper) from Portland OR;

      You are right on!! Keep up the good comments.

      Zonk Lanzillo

      zonkjr@zonkgroup.com

    12. Peet!, Brooksville, says:

      This move to control our lives as law-abiding citizens of the USA started long before Obama, he just ramped it up turbo-style. The issue is that so many have been conditioned over the years to accept this garbage that the famous American resolve and ability to resist and overcome has vanished. People who stand up are not considered patriots or statesmen, but fools and conspiracy theorists.

    13. Pingback: (Español) Isn’t the Internet Already Neutral? – Latino Internet Justice

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