The New York Times editorial board has some fulsome praise for Obama’s proposed broadband build-out and his support for “net neutrality”:
Mr. Obama has also been a strong supporter of “network neutrality,” the principle that Internet service providers should not be able to discriminate against any of the information that they carry. Net neutrality laws are necessary to ensure that Internet service providers do not block content they disagree with or give financial breaks to big tech companies, squeezing out smaller competitors and stifling innovation.
Of course, the Times fails to mention that the “big tech companies” are the ones lobbying hardest in favor of net-neutrality laws. Right now, those firms have got the brand recognition to dominate their fields, be they search engines or online bookstores. They don’t want to have to pay to compete against smaller firms that could otherwise gain an edge by purchasing “priority” delivery speeds.
Our own editors have addressed this issue in the past:
Where the telecoms predict bold innovations, advocates of net neutrality see Orwellian nightmares. They argue that if telecoms are allowed to speed up the delivery of some content, there is nothing to stop them from slowing down or blocking content they don’t like. But such anti-consumer behavior is unlikely in a competitive market. Let’s say George Soros somehow took over Verizon and made troublemaking websites like National Review Online disappear from his network. Competition from other broadband providers would discourage him from thus breaking his customers’ hearts.