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Threat to the net

"Network neutrality" is good, but enshrining it in law is not

To understand why the internet is so important, and how it represents a revolution in communications, consider the telephone system. It was a closed network and a centralised one. The phone company—usually a state-run monopoly, like the old BT—metered every call through its switching centre, and billed them based on duration and distance. Any new feature, from touch-tone dialling to call forwarding, had to be accepted and put in place by the company. There was little incentive to innovate—especially if it might disrupt the status quo.

The internet overthrew this model of communications. It does not have a central organisation…

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