The Internet had a Day of Action this week in pointing out the necessity of Net Neutrality to governmental regulators. And yet, in arguing for governmental intervention, the bigger picture is often lost: that the mere existence of the debate is actually a symptom of a much, much deeper problem of telco/cable corruption, lobbying, and accepting tax money for pretending to roll out good mainstream Internet connectivity with no intention whatsoever of ever doing so.
In the United States, an “Internet Connection” to a household is often taken to mean something you get either from your cable TV provider or from your telco provider. In many parts of the world, these industries are not involved in delivering Internet traffic at all: they tried to offer something substandard but were quickly outcompeted (and outlaughed!) by modern Internet providers who deliver over fiber, often municipal fiber, just like how power companies deliver power over municipal wiring.
The bigger problem isn’t net neutrality, or the absence of it.
The problem is that politicians in the United States and some other places are giving communications monopolies and tax breaks to entrenched legacy industries – telco and cable – which have an enormous strategic incentive to prevent the Internet from ever reaching its potential, but pretend to embrace it.
Think about it for a moment: The future value of voice communication is exactly zero. Why would I pay per minute of usage (or pay at all) for a crappy 9.6-kilobit connection that can only be used for one ridiculously insecure voice application, when I have 100 megabits or a gigabit of general-purpose unmetered bandwidth in a jack in the wall of my home? Even more so, why would I even consider paying cable TV companies for the crappy garbage they feed when I have the