This NYTimes piece hightlights an interesting perspective about why regulating the Internet may not be a good idea to protect Net Nuetrality.
It’s tempting to believe that government regulation of the Internet would be more consumer-friendly; history and economics suggest otherwise. The reason is simple: a regulated industry has a far larger stake in regulatory decisions than any other group in society. As a result, regulated companies spend lavishly on lobbyists and lawyers and, over time, turn the regulatory process to their advantage.
Economists have dubbed this process “regulatory capture,” and they can point to plenty of examples. The airline industry was a cozy cartel before being deregulated in the 1970’s. Today, government regulation of cable television is the primary obstacle to competition.
Of course, incumbent broadband providers do have some limited monopoly powers, and there is cause for concern that they might abuse them. Last fall, the chief executive of AT&T, Ed Whitacre, argued that Internet giants like Google and Microsoft should begin paying for access to his “pipes”— never mind that consumers already pay AT&T for the bandwidth they use to gain access to these services. If broadband providers like AT&T were to begin blocking or degrading the content and services of companies that didn’t pay up, both consumers and the Internet would suffer.