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Opinion
Leonid Bershidsky

Innovation, Net Neutrality and Reality

Both sides in the net neutrality debate accuse their opponents of stifling innovation. True innovation, however, will change the game for all of them.
Next, we'll be able to reach out and touch someone.

Next, we'll be able to reach out and touch someone.

Photographer: Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

One of the most comical features of the net-neutrality debate is that both sides say the other is trying to stifle innovation. Both are probably wrong: true innovation is a threat to both of them, and its speed probably depends on whose victory will have the most onerous consequences.

The word "innovation" was present in almost every response from Internet service providers to President Barack Obama's proposal that the Federal Communications Commission treat the Web as a public utility. Here's a typical comment, from David L. Cohen, executive vice president at Comcast: