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Either way, it’s clear that Netflix has decided to take matters — and costs — into its own hands, instead of relying on rational policy to create an effective and fair marketplace.In a perfect storm of corporate greed and broken government, the internet has gone from vibrant center of the new economy to burgeoning tool of economic control.

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There are only four major national carriers, most of whom run incompatible networks and all of which are stronger in various regions.If you hate your Sprint or Verizon service, switching to AT&T or T-Mobile is anything but simple and probably requires paying off a two-year contact of some kind.Yet the corporations that control internet access insist that they’re providing specialized services that are somehow different than water, power, and telephones. You are standing in the desert and the only thing that grows is higher prices.They point to crazy bullshit you don’t want or need like free email addresses and web hosting solutions and goofy personalized search screens as evidence that they’re actually providing "information" services instead of the more highly regulated "telecommunications" services. 70 percent of American households have but one or two choices for high-speed internet access: cable broadband from a cable provider or DSL from a telephone provider.Paid peering arrangements are common among the network companies that connect the backbones of the internet, but consumer companies like Netflix have traditionally remained out of the fray — and since there’s no oversight or transparency into the terms of the deal, it’s impossible to know what kind of precedent it sets.

Broadband industry insiders insist loudly that the deal is just business as usual, while outside observers are full of concerns about the loss of competition and the increasing power of consolidated network companies.

You’re talking to a cable industry lobbyist; they can afford it.) What happens in countries where there’s real competition?

In the UK, where incumbent provider BT is required to allow competitors to use its wired broadband network, home internet service prices are as low as £2.50 a month, or just over .

"When the internet speaks with a unified voice politicians rip their hair out." We can do it. Have you ever been in an office when the internet goes down? My friend Paul Miller lived without the internet for a year and I’m still not entirely sure he’s recovered from the experience.

The internet isn’t an adjunct to real life; it’s not another place.

Over the course of the past 20 years, the idea of networking all the world’s computers has gone from a research science pipe dream to a necessary condition of economic and social development, from government and university labs to kitchen tables and city streets. Massive companies like AT&T and Comcast have spent the first two months of 2014 boldly announcing plans to close and control the internet through additional fees, pay-to-play schemes, and sheer brutal size — all while the legal rules designed to protect against these kinds of abuses were struck down in court for basically making too much sense. “Judge Tatel basically said the Commission didn’t argue it properly.”In the meantime, the companies that control the internet have continued down a dark path, free of any oversight or meaningful competition to check their behavior.