[TheGuardian] Internet service providers charging for premium access hold us all to ransom

The Federal Communications Commission, America's telcoms regulator, has formulated a plan to allow internet service providers (ISPs) to charge companies for the right to “premium” access to its customers. This is the worst internet policy news imaginable. It should strike terror into the heart of anyone who cares about fairness, politics, the widening gap between the rich and the poor, fair trade, entrepreneurship, or innovation. The FCC now stands as the world's foremost symbol for “regulatory capture,” and its chairman — a former cable executive lobbyist — is the poster child for an unhealthy relationship between industry and its regulators. […]

And the networks are not the carriers' alone. The carriers may pay to dig the trenches and drop the conduit and copper, but they run their wires through our dirt. If carriers had to negotiate for every linear metre of roadway, pavement, and car-park in order to run their wires, the legal bills alone would bankrupt them, to say nothing of the actual fees land owners and cities would be able extract from them. We're talking trillions, here. The only viable way to build a telcoms network infrastructure is by securing a priceless public subsidy in the form of free access to rights-of-way.