Alfred Kahn deregulated airlines and trucking in the US, and he’s not feeling the love for net neutrality regulations:
Some 25 years ago, I thought it was logical to try to prevent cable television companies, as beneficiaries of exclusive territorial franchises, from discriminating against unaffiliated suppliers of programming in favor of their own by prohibiting broadcasters holding a financial interest in the programs they carried. I eventually recognized, however, the public benefits from the especial incentives of the several broadcasters to produce programming of their own, as well as to bid for independent programming, in competition with one another; and that that competition sufficiently protects independent providers from discrimination or exploitation. If Google and eBay depend upon the telephone and cable companies for reaching their audiences, that dependence is mutual: what would happen to the willingness of subscribers to sign up for DSL or cable modem service if one or the other of those suppliers decided not to carry Google or eBay?
Demonstrably, those broadband facilities have to be created by investments — especially huge ones by the telephone companies — and applications requiring priority transmission can entail lower priority transmission of others. Except as broadband service is subsidized by governments — a possibility I do not exclude — those costs must be collected from users — subscribers to broadband services, on the one side, providers of programming or content on the other, or some combination of the two — just as in the case of newspapers or television stations.
Why all the hysteria? There is nothing “liberal” about the government rushing in to regulate these wonderfully promising turbulent developments.
If you’re interested in the Internet’s future, read the whole thing, it’s a comment on the Progress and Freedom Foundation’s blog.