"Our road system is maintained by the government to serve the common good. The internet is much more of a free market"
Not close enough to being free. Far too many people simply don't have the choice to change to providers when dissatisfied.
I would like to see the last mile become a common good but other changes would be needed to ensure fairness.
"How would that help? If a packet is going to get from Level3 Oregon to say a Verizon home in Philadelphia it at some point is going to have to hit a peering location between Level3 and Verizon. Unless you add a bunch of other 3rd parties in there. In which case it is still going to have to happen indirectly. What is a VPN going to do to fix that?"
Colin Nederkoom used a VPN link to show that he could access Netflix at almost 10x the paltry 375 kbps he was getting on his Verizon 75 Mbps symmetric service.
The underlying issue is that Verizon is muddying the waters by being both a residential ISP AND a Tier 1 provider.
I don't know how it would EVER be possible to have nearly symmetric traffic with them when their small-customer base is in the millions as end-user traffic is HIGHLY asymmetric.
There's a reason why i mentioned VyprVPN apart from them being the service used by Nederkoom to bypass Verizon's throttling - they have an online storage service as well so if customer's take advantage of this, it might help balance the traffic if Netflix acquires them.
But there's a much simpler solution that Netflix could implement - a bytecounter & traffic gen plugin that would send random data back when the user is connected to the streaming service and if they implement it unencrypted, they could have Level3 discard it silently as soon as it hits their network from the Verizon side.