Saturday, December 5, 2009

Another Reason for a Public Internet

I was just looking at all of the commentary on the Free Press website about Comcast's proposed acquisition of NBC. Lots of people are concerned about the merger, and lots of people are opposed to it, as am I. So there are lots of impassioned calls for the FCC to step in and stop this thing.

But I can't help think how much simpler, cleaner, and, gosh darn it, more libertarian this could be if we just nationalized Comcast and ATT and ran the Internet as a public service like the roads. Nobody has to call on the government to step in and keep the highway system from buying Burger King, or Quick Stop. Everyone can operate along the roads free of fear that the road network itself will become a competitor and choke off business. Why not apply the same admirably clean and simple solution here?

All of the current issues about net neutrality and universal access, about the limits and flaws of intrusive government regulation, would go away if we just ran the Internet backbone as a publicly owned and operated service. Why am I not hearing this from any of the commentators?

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