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As Congress draws closer to passing significant telecommunications reforms, it's clear that a larger issue serves as a backdrop to the hot topics of net neutrality, cable franchise reform, and municipal WiFi. That is, will the Internet be treated like telecommunications, or the other way around? New technologies have caused a convergence in the communications sector so that the phone company can also be the cable company and vice versa. Indeed, an Internet company can also provide cable and phone services.
This is one of the poorer arguments in the net-neutrality debate, to date.
"...the innovation and freedom that have come to be associated with the Net..." are a result of the ubiquity and ease of entrance for those who deliver services or products across the information infrastructure (telecos/cablecos). Let's not confuse that with the infrastructure itself. The author seems to confuse Internet services for which there is a healthy market and a large degree of competitive and innovation and the infrastructure market, in which most consumers are chained to a monopoly (or duopoly, if they're lucky). One role of government is in ensuring fairness in a situation where monopolies prohibit the natural behavior of a competitive market. It isn't regulation that has stymied innovation in the information infrastructure space, it is lack of competition. It wasn't government deregulation that brought down your phone bill, it was Ma Bell's breakup and the resulting competition.
In the information infrastructure space, I don't know that there is a mechanism for injecting greater competition. Until that solution arrives, it is important for a third-party (i.e. federal gov't) to ensure fair play, the way a competitive market does in other arenas.