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The big fight over net neutrality was complicated, even for a technology story. But it essentially amounted to more government interference over Internet providers--unwelcome and unnecessary interference. The usual kind for government.

The Obama administration--more precisely, the Federal Communications Commission--had regulated private companies that provided the Internet as "telecommunications services," opening them up to tighter regulations. The FCC under President Trump reversed that, and Democrats cried foul.

Democrats painted the move as though it'd suddenly be the end of the Internet. That was blown way out of proportion.

On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that a federal appeals court upheld the government's repeal of those net neutrality rules. That would be the end of it, except the court also said the federal government can't stop state governments from setting out their own net neutrality requirements--something California has already done and other states are working on.

So now we have an even bigger problem: Although the federal government can keep its own net neutrality rules abolished, we have the potential for 50 different net neutrality rules that providers will have to contend with.

Internet providers can't be thrilled with this ruling. Now they have a much more expensive future before them, as they'll have to craft specific corporate policy on a state-by-state level instead of one federal blanket policy. Hopefully none of those expenses filter down to customers, but we haven't known too many corporations to just eat cost.

And if Democrats keep the House after 2020, good luck getting any kind of legislation barring states from crafting their own net neutrality through Congress.

Maybe a higher court can fix this. But for now, we've got an even bigger mess on our hands. And on our laptops.

Editorial on 10/05/2019

Print Headline: A bigger mess


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