One of the most important debates in telecommunications today is over “Net neutrality.” Advocates of a strong Net neutrality policy argue that broadband Internet providers may block or limit users’ access to various Internet content and services either by favoring their affiliated businesses or by charging content providers for better service. And they want a new law that would bar such conduct.
They frame this issue as one of discrimination. But that’s too limited a view. Advocates would do better to describe the issue as a matter of monopoly: Because content providers have no choice but to go through the subscriber’s broadband provider to reach the user, the broadband provider can exploit this monopoly, much as some telephone companies have done in the past when setting interconnection charges.
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