The government should and can enforce network neutrality. Competition and democratic debate in the 21st century depend on nondiscrimination, as does the evolution to “Web 3.0,” or 4.0.
Until Bush-era “deregulation” of broadband, nondiscrimination was the rule for communications networks. The Communications Act of 1934, still the operative law, extended this principle from rules governing railroads and the telegraph. Vanderbilt’s railroads – then the basic infrastructure of commerce – had privileged Rockefeller’s oil, encouraging monopoly. Western Union’s telegraph privileged the Associated Press and denied rival newspapers access to the telegraph, creating a near-monopoly in news.
Phone and cable companies, now joined by Google, are spending millions lobbying to turn the Internet into a pay-for-play service.