Sen. Wyden in defense of Net Neutrality

May 8, 2008

Senator to ISPs: “Think twice” about Net neutrality… or else (Ars Technica)

Pledging to use “every ounce of my energy to protect network neutrality,” Wyden had a message for ISPs who might be pondering new charges for various forms of access: “think twice.” If ISPs start down that road, they might soon find that they lose key legal protections including “safe harbors” and tax freedom.

Thank you Senator Wyden. This really hits right to the heart of what’s wrong with libertarian arguments against Net Neutrality and other issues relating to deregulation of utilities and communication industries. While “we own the pipes” may seem like a common sense argument, all of these infrastructures were established with massive public investment in the form of tax breaks, monopoly grants, regulatory exemptions, eminent domain seizures, and outright subsidies. The industries exist from the beginning in a context of non-competitive (non-free) and distorted markets. “Free market” and small government arguments for further deregulation to the detriment of the public interest are extrUsing femely disingenuous in these cases, and it’s disappointing when otherwise intelligent conservatives fail to recognize this and reflexively argue the pro-corporate (but actually anti-market and anti-consumer) position.

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