This is too long to excerpt from, but it’s (changed my mind)
Worth reading more than once: Saving the Net: How to Keep the Carriers from Flushing the Net Down the Tubes
To sum up, the Net has all these natures:
transport system (pipes)
place (or world)
–and others as well. But those aren’t at war with one another, and that’s what matters most.
Right now #1 is at war with #2 and #3, and that war isn’t happening only in the media and in congressional hearing rooms. It’s happening in our own heads. When we talk about “delivering content to consumers through the Net”, rather than “selling products to customers on the Net”, we take sides with #1 against #2. We unconsciously agree that the Net is just a piping system. We literally devolve: our lungs turn to gills, our legs turn into flippers, and we waddle back into the sea–where we are eaten by sharks.
What I’m talking about here isn’t “just semantics” or trivial in any other way. It’s fundamental, especially to lawmaking and regulation.
[...] Advocating and saving the Net is not a partisan issue. Lawmakers and regulators aren’t screwing up the Net because they’re “Friends of Bush” or “Friends of Hollywood” or liberals or conservatives. They’re doing it because one way of framing the Net–as a transport system for content–is winning over another way of framing the Net–as a place where markets and business and culture and governance can all thrive. [...] Freedom, independence, the sovereignty of the individual, private rights and open frontiers are a few among many values shared by progressives and conservatives. All are better supported, in obvious ways, by the Net as a place rather than as a transport system.
[Via Slashdot's Flushing the Net Down the Tubes]