Tim Lee has a good post about the phenomenon of “regulatory capture”, where a scheme allegedly aimed at consumer protection or some other worthy public interest goal is really being pushed by incumbent companies seeking to keep competitors out. What’s interesting is that at the end Tim goes on to do what he has in the past — offer fears of regulatory capture as his basis for oppose net neutrality regulations. As he’s kind enough to acknowledge, the fly in the ointment of this argument is that incumbent telecom firms aren’t in favor of these regulations.
This and some related points are essentially the basis of my somewhat vulgar sense that net neutrality regulations are a good idea. The main companies opposed to them are companies that, it seems to me, could potentially have a lot to gain from screwing me over. Conversely, while net neutrality certain does have its corporate backers — just not in the telecom sector — the pro-neutrality companies overwhelmingly seem to be ones who have an interest in me getting high-quality internet access at a reasonable price. It’s possible that everyone’s just making a mistake, but I tend to trust the lobbyists and so forth of the world to figure these kinds of questions out more-or-less accurately.