Here's an interesting new twist on the whole Net Neutrality debate. Daniel Berninger argues on GigaOm that net neutrality is already built into the common carrier laws which phone companies have to abide by in return for using states' rights of way for practically free. Excerpt:
The obligations established on a state by state basis all specify that access to state right-of-way at largely no cost or limit requires common carrier status (aka net neutrality.) The loss of common carrier status invalidates the contracts. The Bell companies have no access to state right-of-way for deployment of private, closed, non-neutral, non-common carrier network deployments.
Maryland represents a typical case. The authority of Maryland to regulate telephone companies shows up in the Maryland Constitution Article 12 titled “Public Works” noting among other things that “the Directors of all said Public Works guard the public interest, and prevent the establishment of tolls which shall discriminate against the interest of the citizens or products of this State.”
Who knew that your unfettered access to YouTube might be a constitutional right (at least at the state level)?
Read the whole argument. Beninger also provides a nice bit of math, showing that the $140 billion SBC has spent on acquisitions has only raised it market cap by $40 billion so far, whereas that "$140 billion happens to be about what it would cost to run fiber to every home in America." Yes, but that would require actual work, like digging trenches or stringing up miles and miles of fiber.