On the Comcast Kerfuffle: The Market Meme

by on October 23, 2007 · 0 comments

While Comcast scrambles to explain itself, and those better versed in the technical issues debate the merits (see the comments) of what they surmise Comcast to be doing, I think it’s important to focus on another angle.

Look at the press and consumer reaction to the allegation that Comcast defied the public’s expectations. For example, Rob Pegoraro of the Washington Post has announced that he is investigating the issue for his column on Thursday, and has asked the public to help inform his thinking.

A mass of Comcast customers are weighing in, fairly or unfairly heaping a wide array of Internet woes on this ISP. And here’s a key quote from one commenter: “I got rid of comcast the second that Verizon FIOS was available in my neighborhood . . . .”

Are consumers helpless against the predation, real or imagined, of this ISP? No they are not. The market forces playing out before us right now are bringing Comcast sharply to heel – and other ISPs too: they are watching with keen interest – nevermind whether Comcast has done anything wrong from a technical or “neutrality” standpoint.

The challenge again is for proponents of broadband regulation to show how law, regulation, and a regulatory agency could do a better job than the collective brainpower and energy of the Internet community.

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