Engadget is celebrating the fact that the Internet just got turned into Ma Bell. Here was my response in the comments:
This is utter madness. Since when has "free" ever meant "tightly controlled by the government"? Regulation like this always locks in current competitors and business models. Hate Comcast? You just guaranteed them their infinite existence and profitability. They will be the Ma Bell of your generation.
New competitive models and technologies will now have to be vetted by government bureaucrats who will soon be captured by the industry itself. It literally always happens this way. How much innovation did you ever see in the landline phone business? My telephone at my birth in 1962 was identical to the one in my dorm room in 1984. Power companies? Water companies? Cell voice service? What innovation have you ever seen? What new competitors have you seen pop up to challenge the old guys? Only in cellular data has there been any innovation, and that is to date the one place in phone communications the FCC has not regulated with this model.
I am exhausted with people justifying these heavy-handed government regulations based on the good intentions of their supporters rather than the actual facts of how these regulations always play out historically. We will look back on this day as the beginning of the end of the wild, open Internet we loved.
I will say that folks can really be rubes. Playing on the fear of one narrow issue that would have been easy to legislate (that broadband companies might block or limit access to certain sites), the government used this niche concern to drive through a total takeover of the Internet. Way to go sheeple.
Update: Some additional comments I made:
This problem of blocking web sites is almost entirely hypothetical, and to the extent it has been used at all it merely has been a negotiating tactic between big boys like Netflix and Comcast who can take care of themselves. It could have easily been fixed with a narrow bit of rulemaking but in stead we get this major regulatory takeover.
Doesn't it bother you that this is a problem that could have been solved with a fly-swatter but instead the regulators demanded they be given a 16-inch naval gun. Don't you worry why they need all that regulatory power to swat a fly? Aren't you at all suspicious there is more going on here?