In his recent column castigating “net neutrality”, the idea that all content should be treated equally by Internet service providers, nowhere does Holman Jenkins mention that the cable and telephone companies that control the “last mile”, the ultimate delivery of Internet service to end users, achieved their privileged positions by being monopolies. Not natural monopolies. Government-granted monopolies. I see net neutrality as a means of leveling the playing field between companies that used their monopoly power to charge exorbitant rates for mediocre service, slowing the pace of inovation, and upstarts. He sees it as upstarts exploiting FCC rules to steal cable companies’ core TV customers.
As I’ve said before I’d like the cable companies to be treated as common carriers and the law of common carriers is well-developed. But I’d be satisfied with transparency, allowing customers to pay for bandwidth, and giving them the ability to select the bandwidth they need in advance.