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Watch those policy changes

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The brave new world of network monopolies

By Merilee Dannemann

Let’s pretend the company that provides the land line telephone service to your home institutes a new policy.
That company also owns an airline called PhoneCo Airlines. So from now on, every time you try to call Southwest or American Airlines, your call will be rerouted to PhoneCo.  
Unthinkable! you’d say. Beyond unthinkable! A phone company is a regulated monopoly, granted the privilege by government of no competition and assured profit.   Its mandate is to provide the infrastructure and, for a regulated price, allow you to use it. Yet this regulated monopoly has acquired a business in what used to be the free market, and it is using its monopoly advantage against its competitors.
Welcome to the next big thing on the Internet. Almost all homes and businesses access the Internet through either a phone line or a cable line, both regulated monopoly franchises granted by local government.  


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