Why don't other countries have a net neutrality problem? Because
they have competition among their ISPs. If an ISP tries to
deliberately slow down a popular website to extort the site for
extra payments, it doesn't put pressure on the website to pay.
Instead it puts pressure on the ISP's customers to switch to another
ISP. In most of the rest of the world, any ISP trying to pull this
stunt puts itself out of business.
It only works in the U.S. because these ISPs have government-granted
monopolies over the local customer base. The customer can't flee to
a different ISP because there is none - the local government has
made it illegal for there to be a competitor. Essentially, net
neutrality is more government regulation to solve a problem caused
by government regulation.
According to Ars Techinca (and many others) UK
regulators officially mock US over ISP "competition":
Here's how US regulators do a broadband plan: talk about competition
even while admitting there isn't enough, then tinker around the
edges with running fiber to "anchor institutions" and start
collecting real data on US broadband use.
Here's how they do it in the UK: order incumbent telco BT to share
its fiber lines with any ISP who is willing to pay. In places where
BT hasn't yet run fiber, order the company to share its ducts and
poles with anyone who wants to run said fiber. In the 14 percent of
the UK without meaningful broadband competition, slap price controls
on Internet access to keep people from getting gouged. [...]
"Aside from small urban countries with highly concentrated
populations, like Singapore, the main countries which are currently
leading in the rollout and take-up of super-fast broadband are those
which have had significant government intervention to support
deployment, such as Japan and South Korea."
I've Googled around and I can't find any evidence that backs up your
implication that consumers benefit from less government regulation
of ISPs. Everything I've seen says the benefits in non-US
countries stem from greater government intervention.
The nuanced Republican stance you refer to seems to be a
code-phrase for BS. IMO the core of the problem is there is
a lot of BS flying around because our corporate controlled "fair
and balanced" media (including the NYT) refuse to call out
politicians on outright lies. This gives a decided advantage
to those who lie more. With no checks and balances from the
media, public debate is mired in giant echo chambers filled with