Now, relax, fully-metered broadband probably is not coming to America. Customers don’t like it. Americans have grown accustomed to casually sampling the Web without a meter running. Who also doesn’t like it is Netflix, Google, GOOG -1.71% Yahoo, YHOO -2.16% Facebook FB -5.19% and every other established Web power whose business model is premised on customers not feeling crowded by bandwidth charges or any cost for the ads filing their screens.
But there’s another solution to the deadweight problem. Comcast, AT&T and other operators could kick part of the bandwidth bill back upstream to the big suppliers of Web content. Netflix in the end did agree to fork over a nominal sum to defray Comcast’s costs. And Google and Facebook already are underwriting broadband costs of users in the developing world. What is Google Fiber except bandwidth for end users partly subsidized by Google’s advertising business?
The dam really broke this week with word that the Federal Communications Commission is softening its “net neutrality” objections to such payments. Yes, professional net-neut obsessives are going ape. Tom Wheeler, the FCC chief, is receiving the kind of vilification normally reserved for puppy kickers.