Net neutrality: It's a matter of trust

Demonstrators who favor “net neutrality” gather outside an FCC meeting on the issue in Washington.
Pat Anastasi | CNBC
Demonstrators who favor “net neutrality” gather outside an FCC meeting on the issue in Washington.

All the best pundits tell us the issues and details surrounding net neutrality are too difficult and boring to really get into. Others say today's vote won't really make much of a difference to consumers in the short or even the long run.

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But those pundits and experts are wrong. Not only is the issue of net neutrality easy to boil down, it most certainly will have a profound effect on consumers and service providers for years to come.

Simply put, the net neutrality battle comes down to a question of who do you trust? If you use the Internet regularly, do you trust private businesses to continue innovating the industry while keeping prices reasonable? Or do you think the government is best suited to make sure consumers are protected and the growing Internet infrastructure is maintained properly?

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I could give you a snap answer, but instead let's just ask one more series of questions, like: how's the rest of the government-controlled and managed U.S. infrastructure doing these days? How's the crucial electrical power grid looking right now? Is government-controlled Amtrak looking healthy? What about the public school system?

You get the picture. I'm not saying private businesses can't unfairly manipulate prices or sacrifice innovation in favor of better stock prices and CEO salaries. But the Internet has remained an affordable entity for decades now all while the innovations and improvements to the industry have grown by leaps and bounds.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. And if it is broke, who says the government can make the repairs?

Commentary by Jake Novak, supervising producer of "Power Lunch." Follow him on Twitter @jakejakeny.