ISPs aren't dumb--they realize that they make their money from people like you and me subscribing to their services. If they were to block something, it wouldn't take long for the story to get out, and consumers the world over would be furious about the censorship. The ISP's business would be hurt as people looked to their competitors for an uncensored access to the internet.Hm, for years now the Dixie Chicks have been saying and it's been written up in books such as Rednecks and Bluenecks: The Politics of Country Music, that ClearChannel and Cumulus banned the Chicks' music from their radio stations, yet even after the Chicks won five Grammies, last I head neither ClearChannel nor Cumulus have relented. People might look to their competitors, if there were any. In many markets, one or the other of those two big radio chains is the only choice.
In the Internet, for many people the only choices are the telco or the cableco.
Nothing's theoretically stopping ISPs from doing exactly what you're describing right now--but they're not doing it.We could wait and see what they do after the Bellsouth merger is completed and after the 2008 election, or we could reflect that the telcos are some of the few modern institutions that have a vested interest in thinking on timescales of decades; look how they've systematically reassembled themselves into AT&T from Sea to Sea. Biding their time for another few years is a piece of cake.
Why do we need to drag the government into the process, exposing the internet to the possibility that the government will muck it up, when there's nothing wrong with it right now?Why did the telcos have to drag government out of the process, as they did in August 2005 when the FCC removed the last few requirements for net neutrality? There wasn't much wrong with the way it was. Why did the telcos want it changed if they don't want to do something different?