Click for audio The Market for Internet Access: Government Intervention or Private Innovation? (RealAudio)

With fast, new Internet access technology on its way, long waits for your Internet connection could become a thing of the past. 

Cable Internet service providers now offer high-speed cables that have advantages over the older and slower dial-up technology most Internet surfers still use.  But Internet access could become more expensive for everyone, not less. 

Why?  Because Michigan lawmakers are considering a bill that would hamper the kind of stiff competition between cable and other Internet service providers that would otherwise bring prices down. 

Cable companies have a head start in the market for high-speed Internet technology.  But instead of trying to catch up to the cable companies, dial-up companies including America Online are asking government to force cable operators to "share" their high-speed cables.   

If government steps in, the intense competition between cable companies and dial-ups such as America Online won't materialize.  Neither will lower prices. 

Instead of cutting off competition, Michigan lawmakers should increase it—by putting an end to local cable monopolies.  That way, everybody will have a fair shot at the market for Internet access, and that market will deliver the widest variety of options for the lowest possible price.   

For the Mackinac Center, I'm Catherine Martin.