We don’t need Net Neutrality. Yet.
The Internet is a super-cool. It’s enabled people to do previously unimagined things — like writing a Medium post from my iPhone while riding an Uber while checking my Twitter feed. It’s made the companies that created those things incredibly successful.
The idea that any person or little company can be the next world-beating success is part of the tech industry’s mythology. Net Neutrality is one idea for protecting that mythology. We want to protect the visionary little guys from the big, bad corporate interests.
However, in practical terms, it’s not simple.
Free markets are super-efficient at distributing resources. Central management is much less so. A survey of 20th century world history ought to illustrate that point well. There are exceptions, of course. Sometimes we need that central control despite the inefficiencies — water, sewage, roads, schools, public safety. And one day, we may need to add the Internet to that esteemed list. But, not yet.
There will be companies that win and companies that lose. We can’t protect the losers. Winners will try to extend their advantages. Losers will have to adapt and become more valuable, or die.
In established industries, the cost of entry is enormous. Huge amounts of money are necessary to enter and compete. The tech industry is no different. New entrants will find it more and more expensive to enter the market. Two dudes in a garage are not going to unseat Netflix or Google or Apple unless they do something completely different. But, have hope! A company that seems unassailable one day will be marginalized in totally unexpected ways— see Microsoft or Kodak or Xerox.
Specific rules and regulations about how private companies manage with Internet-related assets may be necessary someday. But, not today. Free streaming on private networks paid for by private companies? Click play and see where it goes.