One of the key reasons elected officials and bureaucrats should keep their mitts off the Internet, especially when it comes to imposing network neutrality or Title II reclassification. Many in the public sphere are competent in select categories, but few can wrap their heads around the complex engineering issues required of the information technology industry. Nor do they have a clue about the long-range, unintended consequences of their actions.
As Comcast’s David L. Cohen noted at his Brookings Institution Center for Technology Innovation
speech this past Tuesday: “The courts … the FCC … and the Congress [are] all valuable institutions filled with capable, conscientious people … but few of them [have] the background to work out consensus on what are essentially complicated technical issues.”
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Cohen noted broadband policy is dominated by lawyers and lobbyists, not engineers who know how things really work: “No offense to anyone here,” he said. “I’m a lawyer and have done my share of politics. But that kind of experience doesn’t make me, or anybody else like me, an authority on the Internet.”
Cohen identifies the reliable, secure, and fair management provided by engineers for the current accessibility of broadband. Their efforts have brought the Internet and thousands of bandwidth-thirsty applications to an estimated 2 billion users worldwide.
Not only must engineers work with the technology that makes the Internet possible, they must also interact with business people and investors to “support making these networks bigger, faster, safer, and more sophisticated,” Cohen noted.