Richard Freeman on 4 Dec 2010 15:46:31 -0800

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Re: [PLUG] Net Neutrality

On 12/04/2010 12:48 PM, Kevin McAllister wrote:
> If you don't like comcast and and Verizon, that's fine, but don't get
> out your pitchforks and go take over.  Just take your business
> elsewhere.

The only problem I see with this is that most of their infrastructure
was built more-or-less on the public dime.  Sure, they spent the money,
but only after local governments promised them a monopoly for a number
of years.

Where else could we take our business?  I'd like a broadband connection
to the internet, with a 30Mbps peak rate, at a reasonable price (figure
about $30/month to transfer 50GB down, and 5-10GB up).

I can get that from Verizon (FIOS).  I can sort-of get that from Comcast
(the peak rate is pushing it though and they're a bit harder on caps).
Nobody else is going to sell that to me at anything near those prices.

As long as there is a near-monopoly on high-bandwidth local service,
then I think regulation is completely appropriate.  The regulation need
only be on the last-mile provider, but the problem is that the last-mile
provider bundles everything else with that service (phone, cable,
internet access, email, etc).

I don't think that Verizon and Comcast have any more right to do what
they want with their own property than PECO, PGW, and your local water
company do.  They are natural-monopoly utilities and should be regulated
as such.

Now, if Comcast wants to sell off their last-mile data carriage to some
other independent company, and then offer internet content to anybody
who uses any last-mile provider, then they can charge whatever they want
for that service, and deliver it in as high or poor a level of quality
as they'd like to.  They would no longer be a utility - they'd be
another Netflix/Hulu.

Don't get me wrong - I vote libertarian all the time.  Utilities are
just not the place for free markets, because they are never truly free.
 Maybe if they allow me to cut down the telephone pole in front of my
house on my property or charge every company that has a line on it a fee
of my own choosing for rent then I'll be more open to treating them as such.

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