Internet service providers and their customers have
understood and debated the concepts of net neutrality since the
beginning of the era of dial-up bulletin board systems.
Commentators have only recently joined the debate, and often
overlook history. No commentator, legislator, or regulator can
be certain how networks and technologies will evolve over the
next decade—especially when they misunderstand how those
networks evolved over the last one.
This paper refocuses the net neutrality debate by
challenging the application of vertical foreclosure theory to
today’s non-neutral Internet access and content markets. The
paper finds that the current policy fascination with non-existent
net neutrality is ill founded. Disclosure and a broader focus on
both network and content providers’ non-neutral traffic policies
would better enable the market to choose technologies and
business models dynamically while still providing regulators
with a potential enforcement mechanism.