This is a mostly direct response to Ari Lewis’s Thoughts on Net Neutrality. Go ahead and read that first.
He makes some good points regarding regulation; points normally brought by net neutrality opponents. Yet he claims he is reserving judgment.
I actually think it’s great that he’s willing to voice a controversial opinion. But he’s wrong.
Net neutrality is needed because the big telecom companies - primarily Comcast and Time Warner - are also media companies (Google, too, if you consider Google Fiber and YouTube/Play Videos). Would it be better to enforce anti-trust laws and break up some of these monopolies? Yes, of course. But failing that, Title II is the next best option. It ensures my Netflix traffic doesn’t get second priority to my neighbor’s Comcast streaming (or YouTube if I’m lucky enough to be on Google Fiber).
Some of Ari’s specific questions:
ISPs such as Comcast, Verizon, and Time Warner have their dominant market status because of high barriers of entry caused by government regulation. How would more regulation help?
These monopolies are mostly caused by local and state regulations. Federal regulations will help prevent them from abusing that.
When was the last time a utility company created truly innovative technology? I don’t recall. Do we expect ISPs to become cutting edge now that it’s a utility.
When was the last time an ISP created truly innovative technology, other than to deliver its own content?
Why can’t lobbyists now dictate who will get preference? How can the FCC be truly neutral and determine what is in public interest?
Because it’s black and white. ISPs either discriminate or they don’t. As long as Comcast and Time Warner have other, conflicting interests, there is no room for preference.