In 2008, I wrote a paper for the Cato Institute questioning the need for network neutrality regulations; I argued that the Internet’s decentralized architecture made it inherently resistant to mischief by broadband incumbents. While I’m still sceptical about the wisdom of network neutrality regulations, I’ve become more concerned about the state of the broadband market in the four years since writing that paper. In a March article for National Affairs, I made a case for regulatory action to prevent further consolidation of the largest broadband firms.
What changed my thinking was less the theoretical arguments set out in that piece than it was a sequence of developments in the telecom marketplace, all of which forced me to reexamine my own assumptions about the state of US broadband. Here are the four most important.