Congressman Who Was Against Protecting Net Neutrality Flips Sides After Realizing The Harm Broadband Giants Can Cause

from the nice-to-see dept

Over the last few weeks we've seen a number of politicians come out on one side or another concerning the FCC's net neutrality plans, but most of them were pretty much expected. It actually was nice to see some net neutrality supporters be quite explicit in their support for Title II reclassification (like Senator Chuck Schumer), but beyond that there weren't too many surprises. That's why it was actually great to see Rep. Gary Peters, who is currently running for the Senate in Michigan, come out in favor of net neutrality, warning of the harm that could be caused by the fast lanes and slow lanes as allowed by the current FCC proposal.
"If large corporations can pay more for faster service for their content, this effectively creates a 'slow lane' for everyone else."
This is notable, because four years ago, Peters was actually one of the group of Representatives who actively opposed strong net neutrality rules by the FCC. It appears that four years later he's changed his mind. In his new statement, he makes it clear that he now realizes how many entrepreneurs and innovators rely on an open internet:
"Startups and small businesses are the engines of job creation and economic growth in Michigan, and they rely on open access to the Internet to stay competitive. I have serious concerns that allowing large, established corporations to purchase faster services puts these startups and small businesses at a disadvantage and stifles innovation."
That's a far cry from the letter Peters signed four years ago, which was entirely focused on the question of how these rules might upset the big broadband access providers. It's good to see Peters has realized that the future is in innovative startups, not in protecting big cable and telco oligopolies.

Filed Under: gary peters, innovation, michigan, net neutrality, reclassification, switching sides, title ii


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  1. identicon
    Michael, 16 Jul 2014 @ 9:42pm

    Net neutrality vs. anti-trust law

    I believe that anti-trust law would be more appropriate to protect an open Internet than net neutrality regulation.

    Anti-trust law is specifically designed to combat the key problem that net neutrality is supposed to prevent: anti-competitive behavior by Internet service providers. To my knowledge, companies generally cannot use their market dominance in one sector to pick the winners and losers in other sectors. As an Internet-specific example, I am almost certain that AT&T would be barred under anti-trust law from throttling Skype on their mobile data network in order to lessen VoIP's threat to their mobile voice business.

    At the same time, net neutrality regulation definitely has the potential to kill innovative new business models. A good example is telesurgery, which would require an extremely low latency Internet connection. Generic bans on paid prioritization would prohibit ISPs from selling these connections to telesurgery providers, along with anyone else who requires a higher quality of service than usual for their business.

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