NRO likes the new network

Here’s a great editorial from National Review Online on the cool new network:

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.

Net-neutrality advocates argue that there isn’t enough competition among broadband providers to ensure that service degradation would be punished or that telecoms would charge Internet companies fair prices for faster service. Most U.S. broadband consumers are forced to choose between their local cable and local phone companies, they argue, giving these telecoms a “virtual duopoly” in the broadband market.

Leave aside the FCC’s finding, noted in the Supreme Court’s ruling on this matter, of “robust competition . . . in the broadband market,” including not just cable and DSL, but burgeoning satellite, wireless, and broadband-over-powerline technologies. Ignore also the argument that net-neutrality legislation could actually entrench the bigger players at the expense of new technologies that might otherwise compete by differentiating their services.

They make an important point: there’s a lot of doubt about the business plan for new broadband, but that’s all the more reason to let the market sort it out. The Nutria want to abort it before we ever get a chance to see what it can do. That would be a dreadful mistake.