Earlier this week, I wrote a piece for the Boston Herald on Sen. Ed Markey’s (D-MA) misguided campaign to restore the Open Internet Order that was struck down by a federal court in January. Markey has been pushing net neutrality in Congress for years, and although he’s seen little success, he appears to have made some very powerful allies.
When Markey ran for the Senate last year, he set up a campaign website at a domain registered by a Google lobbyist. And while Google didn’t give directly to Markey’s campaign, it did support groups that spent heavily on Markey’s behalf--including over $100,00 0 in contributions to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Now, as a newly minted Senator, Markey has been all too eager to jump on net neutrality, a cause dear to the heart of Google’s brass.
As I wrote in the Herald:
“It’s not the little guy who’s rushing to embrace net neutrality--it’s Google and other tech giants, which fear having to pay ISPs more money to retain the needed bandwidth for popular applications.
YouTube, for example, generates billions in revenue for Google, and net neutrality would forbid ISPs from charging Google any more for YouTube than it does smaller firms for simpler, less bandwidth-intensive products. Under a truly open Internet system, governed by the laws of supply and demand, ISPs would be able to charge market-driven fees to major content creators, but net neutrality allows Google and other proponents to lock into sweetheart deals--while ordinary Internet users are stuck with slower load times and fewer service options.”
Whether Markey’s support for net neutrality stems from a simple misguided belief that federal regulation is what the Internet needs (after all, we’ve learned all about the federal government’s ability to run a website this year) or a broader loyalty to Google and its cadre of lobbyists is unknown. But whether it’s supported by big-government liberals or tech giants that have gotten too cozy with Washington, net neutrality remains a bad deal for American consumers and innovators.