As Net Neutrality supporters continue to break down over the reversal of the regulatory scheme, we’re finding all sorts of irony in their responses. From the screeching about a few bureaucrats controlling our lives, to the outlandish idea that the internet is changed as we know it forever, it’s just beyond recklessly hyperbolic.
Left-wing media outlets are up in arms along with their supporters. In response to the FCC’s decision to end Net Neutrality, the New York Times ran an op-ed from an Asian studies doctoral candidate titled “What if You Couldn’t See This Page?”
Well, one need not consider the “what if,” because the New York Times decided to make the article a paid-access story only, blocking non-subscribers from reading the article. I guess they got lost in the irony.
The Daily Caller reports that the paywall ironically blocked people from being able to see the contents of the article, as the article was attempting to claim that ISP’s would be the ones blocking access to content.
Net neutrality is the nebulous concept generally meaning that all internet traffic should be treated equally. Specifically, among other aspects, it means broadband providers like Comcast and Verizon can’t favor their own content over that of others, and can’t offer faster speeds to higher paying customers, nor block access to certain features.
But many do not apply this simple principle equally to other industries. The aforementioned NYT op-ed, for example, can only be accessed through a paid subscription once the maximum number of free-of-charge articles have expired.
Just imagine that! They require a paid subscription to access an article on the idea that the content could be blocked unless you pay.
“The whole concept that infinite free distribution would solve all the business problems associated with journalism, and there’d be a perfect way of matching news to users, has just turned out to be wrong,” NYT CEO Mark Thompson said in a Digiday interview published on Thursday. “There is demonstrably a market for high-quality news for paying customers.”
So they’re basically admitting that paying for access is not as problematic as everyone is making it out to be? And maybe it’s actually a good thing?
Gee, it’s almost as if exchange of currency for a good or service is how the entire economy works. Who woulda thunk?
Now, the article is now accessible even without a subscription. It’s possible that the Times reacted to backlash from users who didn’t want to pay for it.
In other words, the free market solved the problem!
Here’s the ultimate problem underlying the entire debate about Net Neutrality. Many of the supporters of Net Neutrality are so vehement in their support because they implicitly assume that internet access is a human right. They are afraid of having to pay for something they consider to be a human right.
In the same way that they believe healthcare should be “free” and education should be “free,” they are all but saying that internet access should be free as well. Sure, they still pay the ISP for an internet connection, but the idea of paying to access certain kinds of content on the internet, even if it requires a lot of bandwidth which the ISP has to produce? They hate it because they believe that they are entitled to internet access.
This isn’t every single supporter of Net Neutrality, of course. Some have raised concerns over the idea that ISP’s can throttle connections in very well-thought out ways. I’ll still argue against the regulatory scheme, because I am more open to market innovation than simply deferring to government coercion to achieve something they consider desirable.
Maybe we could let the market innovate, stop making it illegal for other ISP’s to compete in the marketplace? Where there is competition, there is downward pressure on prices and upward pressure on quality. How about we let people freely acting, using their creativity and innovation to solve any issues that arise such as this?
Let’s think outside the little government box people, please!