“It’s a great slogan,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai when h was asked by a radio host what net neutrality is all about. “But in reality what it involves is Internet regulation, and the basic question is, ‘Do you want the government deciding how the Internet is run?'”
The fact that the FCC Chairman called net neutrality a “slogan” and suggested it solves no real problems, was later bolstered by the statements of Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) on WTMJ Radio in Milwaukee on Monday when he argued that the Internet should have paid “fast lanes” for some content providers. Johnson went on to explain: “As chairman Pai said, net neutrality is a slogan. What you really want is an expansion of high-speed broadband, and in order to do that you have to create the incentives for those smaller ISPs to invest. They don’t really control their own fiber if the government tells them exactly how they’re going to use their investment.” He also brought out an often debunked argument that “there’s less incentive to invest, so we’ll have less high-speed broadband” if net neutrality regulations are maintained.
“Chairman Pai just mentioned medical diagnostics,” Johnson said. “You might need a fast lane within that pipeline so those diagnoses can be transmitted instantaneously and not be held up by, I don’t know, maybe a movie streaming.”
It’s very interesting from a policy point of view that on a tactical level the ground is quickly shifting as opponents of net neutrality are beginning to argue that having it isn’t a big deal, rather than arguing whether it should exist on the merits. Some of the arguments being used have already been shown to be patently false, but echoing those statements about net neutrality being a meaningless policy across FCC agency and Legislative news outlets appears to be having a significant impact on the way the discussion is being framed.