Net Neutrality? Really?

Net Neutrality? Really?

Nebraska Energy Observer by NEO

I suspect you’ve been hearing a bit about ‘Net Neutrality’, I surely have. Mostly from those who think regulation is a pretty good thing. Well, there’s another view, and I think it the correct one. Robert Tracinski in The Federalist lays it out.

But there’s a deeper ignorance of history involved, one that I discussed a while back with technology entrepreneur Bill Frezza. Bill has lived this history, starting as an engineer with Bell Labs straight out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1978, because “if you wanted to be a telecom engineer the only legal place to work was in the Bell System at Bell Labs.”

The story he has to tell is that the Internet as we know it was born out of the breakup of the AT&T monopoly in 1982. Specifically, the Internet grew out of rejecting the very policies that are the backbone of “net neutrality.”

AT&T gained its monopoly, ironically, from a settlement called the Kingsbury Commitment that headed off an antitrust prosecution. In effect, the government agreed that instead of breaking up AT&T, it would give the government’s backing to its monopoly. In exchange, AT&T agreed to become a regulated utility[…]

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