Don't Rush To Regulate Net Access

The consolidation of cable and media companies raises the specter of a handful of vertically integrated conglomerates dominating Internet access into people's homes. U.S. and European antitrust regulators are rightly raising questions about the proposed America Online Inc./Time Warner Inc. merger's impact on competition and innovation. Yet it's not clear what the solutions may be. No one really knows what can and will work on the Net, as the recent shakeout in the dot-com world shows. With one or two exceptions, no one knows how to make profits. Any regulatory incursion into the still-evolving Net, however well-intentioned in terms of trying to promote competition, must take this into account.

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