Cable Lobbyist Says Net Neutrality Violates The First Amendment
from the how? dept
Before we get into the details here, I should state, as a reminder, that I’m not in favor of passing laws mandating net neutrality, as I believe that there is a very strong potential for negative unintended consequences. Yet, I do think that the principle of network neutrality is important, and that it would be a serious mistake for ISPs to look to erode it. Basically, the issue is a lot more nuanced than it is often made out to be. But one thing that is quite clear is that some of the claims on all sides of the debate have gone to ridiculous levels. You may recall, for example, the flat out lie by lobbyist Mike McCurry, saying that Google paid nothing for bandwidth and its push for net neutrality was to keep getting bandwidth for free. That’s a complete lie.
And now, a whole bunch of you have sent in the story about how a top cable industry lobbyist, Kyle McSlarrow, of the NCTA, is claiming that any net neutrality mandate would violate ISP’s First Amendment rights. What he doesn’t explain is how. And that’s because he can’t. He stacks a few different concepts on top of one another to argue that net neutrality could prevent cable companies from “delivering their traditional multichannel video programming services or new services that are separate and distinct from their Internet access service.” Except, there’s nothing in the suggested FCC mandates that would do that. And even if it did, it’s still difficult to see how it would be a First Amendment violation.
There are tons of very good reasons why we might want to avoid mandating net neutrality through law. But arguing that it will be a First Amendment violation isn’t one of them… and it makes me wonder why lobbyists fighting against the regulations keep bringing up such bad arguments.