ObamaNet: Your New Taxpayer-Funded Broadband ‘Right’

Phil Jensen


internetThe Federal Communications Commission just created Obamanet by providing a $9.25 subsidy for millions deemed to be in need of broadband Internet service.

How did the FCC get the power to spend $2.4 billion of tax dollars each year? Congress gave it to them when they provided control over the taxes paid on our phone bills each month.  So now each of us can feel good about the usurious taxes plunked onto our already exorbitant phone charges.

And here is the fun part in the ultimate corporate cronyism, the subsidized broadband provided is the modern equivalent of slow motion Internet — 10Mbps download, 150GB monthly allowance — initially denying users the right to watch Netflix in high definition, or to have multiple users streaming content in the household at the same time.  By design this will cause these too poor to have broadband customers to pay the Internet service providers additional money to get service that supports “must have” wants like HD movies and other large bandwidth streaming services, which in turn the FCC will then move to expand the subsidy to compensate.

Rick Kriebel 2016


So in short, the FCC gives a credit to designated poor people using our phone taxes. The poor people give that money to a company like Verizon and get minimal service.  Then Verizon tells those people that for (hypothetically) just $20 more a month they can upgrade and be able to pay Netflix $9.99 so they can stream HD movies.

If Verizon offered a $9.25 monthly rate sweetener to get the underprivileged to buy their product with the expectation that they could be upsold, I would applaud their marketing genius.  After all, they would bear the risk if the upselling wasn’t profitable.

But no, the FCC is compelling the taxpayers to provide the upfront marketing cost and allowing the Internet Service Provider who is receiving the $9.25 in exchange for a lesser product to then troll these millions of new customers to upgrade their “free” Internet and increase their margins as these new sheep line up to be sheared.

Woodrow Wilcox


The only thing missing is the taxpayer funded sign up campaign staffed by far left community organizers to encourage the millions of new Internet subscribers who have lived just fine without broadband to see the importance of being connected and sign up.

Of course, the federal government will then come under pressure from the laptop industry to provide each person a computer at taxpayer expense to use the broadband, since broadband without hardware to run it on is useless.

The router companies will insist that they can’t be fully connected without the necessary equipment being provided gratis. Remember, we have now effectively declared having broadband is a right so all things that go with that must be provided to those in need.

While it would be a funny comedy sketch outlining the cascading needs and problems of the once untethered forty million grows to include not only premium broadband but also the inevitable laptop or tablet to run it along with free Wifi, so they can see the latest episode of House of Cards from under a highway bridge.  All the while the “beneficiaries” would be complaining about the new hassles associated with their connected life.  After all, they used to be able to panhandle for food and basic lodging, but now they have the upgraded Verizon bill and Netflix bill that need to be accommodated.  For those unfortunates who take subsidized, crummy broadband, it may make all the economic sense of getting a “free” cat.

Rather than having the FCC create this pyramid of pain, the right approach to this manufactured problem is to not treat broadband as a right but recognize it for the convenience that it is.  If anything, Congress should be evaluating the nation’s outdated telecommunications laws with the goal of ending those that restrict access in so-called undeserved areas, creating increased competition that allows consumers to choose the level of service that is right for them based upon cost and usage desires.

Now that the Obama Administration through their lackeys at the FCC have defined broadband as a right, they have created a responsibility on the rest of us to make certain that this basic need be met.

In the old days, rights conveyed responsibilities.  You have freedom of speech, but you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater if there isn’t one.  Now, under the brave new Obamaworld one person’s right becomes the rest of our responsibility, turning the concept of individual rights on its head.  This putting a gun to the head of the rest of us to provide for the basic wants of a large, currently favored, voter bloc is nothing more or less than theft.

And as the millions of new potential customers discover how costly this right is to exercise, expect them to be back asking the rest of us to allow them to fully exercise their rights by providing all the accoutrement that goes with free broadband.

If only the Obama Administration was as eager for people to exercise rights that actually are in the Constitution, I already have a new lever action rifle picked out that I expect the rest of you to buy me.



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Rick Manning is the President of Americans for Limited Government and the former Public Affairs Chief of Staff for the U.S. Department of Labor. Americans for Limited Government is dedicated to putting the principles of limited government into action. They work with local groups across the nation to promote freedom, limited government, and the principles of the U.S. Constitution. Their goal is to harness the power of American citizens and grassroots groups in order to put the people back in charge in states across the country.
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