Net neutrality FUD

As some websites (including my employer's) are protesting in favor of net neutrality today, it's a good a time as any to say that I oppose strict regulatory enforcement of Net Neutrality.

I'm not outright opposed to regulation, but I'm not sure what problem demands regulation here. Net neutrality, the issue behind this protest, wasn't regulated in the USA from 2002-2010 and from the beginning of this year to now. Though there were clear abuses, they were corrected in the absence of the regulation that net neutrality proponents are asking for.

Our industry has benefited from a light regulatory touch. Strict net neutrality is a heavy form of regulation and we can't predict its long-term consequences. A regulation designed to handcuff companies like Time Warner Cable and Verizon — I hate them too — may be self-defeating. It may crush a company that doesn't even exist today. It may also prevent investments in network infrastructure, thereby harming the internet and internet businesses.

It's important to be humble about predicting the future. We're bad at it and we should only invite regulation — even of noxious companies — when we know that we need it.