Robert Maxwell wrote:
Others may have said it, but I will reiterate: the Internet costs quite a bit to maintain. I don't think it will become "free" until things like water and electricity are also "free," which is to say it is unlikely to happen unless and until we live in some kind of Trek-like utopia, which is to say "probably never."
There ARE some countries in which water and electricity are "free", at least insofar as they are paid for by tax revenues and not by service fees to corporations. Mind you, most of those countries are socialist.
Privatization can do some great things, but private operators don't always or even usually take the long view of things and aren't as eager to invest in long-term infrastructure. Seems to me a partnered approach would be ideal: the government owns the internet and contracts with private companies to manage it; contract goes to the lowest bidder who can also demonstrate the best quality service for a particular region. Apart from potentially avoiding huge price-rigging monopolies (coughAT&Tcough) it would also encourage smaller companies to get involved that might otherwise be completely shut out of the market, while at the same time giving consumers guaranteed access as a public service, through tax dollars.
IOW: if you use the government as a giant consumer's union, then ISP's can't use the same "divide and conquer" tactics to squeeze out the competition and then run their prices through the roof. You put bargaining power back in the hands of the customers, prices would drop dramatically.