Net Neutrality is an issue on which I'm completely torn. Take, for example, the UK government's proposed amendments to the EU Telecoms Package. The original proposed wording was:
The national regulatory authorities shall promote the interests of the citizens of the European Union by inter alia: applying the principle that end-users should be able to access and distribute any lawful content and use any lawful applications and/or services of their choice
The UK government proposal would amend that to:
...by inter alia: applying the principle that there should be transparency of conditions under which services are provided, including information on the conditions of access to and/or use of applications and services, and of any traffic management policies
My gut reaction is to favour the original wording; it is the completely open nature of the internet which allows me to rant on here and know it will be accessible to anybody with an internet connection. On the other hand, I look at the proposed amendment and that seems reasonable too. If there is a competitive market and one supplier wants to offer a service on the basis that it provides access to a limited number of websites and there are customers who are happy with that, what right have I got to tell them that they can't do business on that basis? In any other market, that would be a clear restriction of free trade, something I'm instinctively opposed to. In the main, it wouldn't seem to make much sense for an ISP to operate on that basis anyway. By blocking access to a range of sites, they would be offering a poorer product to the customer, so they would have to find some way of making it correspondingly cheaper.
Having reflected on the issue for a while, I think that, rather than mandate net neutrality, freedom of choice and flexibility would be better served by using common carrier type protection for those ISPs which act as "dumb pipes." In much the same way that, if Royal Mail handles a parcel containing something illegal, it isn't held liable, but someone knowingly bringing the same item through customs is, those ISPs which act as non-discriminatory conduits for information should be guaranteed that they won't be held liable for material transmitted by their customers, but those ISPs which offer a restricted service should be treated as broadcasters and be held responsible for the information they transmit. That would provide a strong incentive for ISPs to maintain neutrality without legally restricting their business model. As an aside, I acknowledge that Royal Mail's protection from liability isn't due to common carrier protection, but the principle is similar enough for the purposes of this comparison.