Your argument has a fatal flaw, it assumes that we have to bargain for a neutral network. No amount of bargaining would change the telecoms minds about setting up a two tiered Internet. It would take a lot more than just allowing AT&T to provide terrestrial video services in Michigan to get them to change their minds. AT&T already owns at least half of Dish Network, so they are already providing video services in Michigan (along with Internet and telephone services), they just also want to provide terrestrial video services. If every state that hasn't done so already, denied them franchising rights to their state, they would instead improve their Dish Network service so more people could get a better signal. Also we can't forget that Verizon isn't asking for franchising rights in Michigan yet would still be allowed to operate in Michigan even if the new bill in enacted. So what do Verizon have to bargain for? They can just as easily enact a two tiered network as anyone else.
Your argument is also flawed in that you assume that this bill allows for a two tiered Internet, and the point in my post that you link to is that it does not allow such a thing (but it also doesn't stop it). You are right however that this bill could allow for a greater abuse of the telecoms power.
It is true that the Telecoms have an insanely powerful lobby, which is why a bill has yet to be passed at the national level, but that doesn't not mean that they will always win. Let's give the new Democrats in congress a chance to address this important issue at the national level. I know that they are aware of the issue, I have written Senator Levin about the issue myself. He sent me a back a nice letter stating that he supports a neutral Internet and would support a bill outlawing a two tiered Internet.
Please don't take my comments or anyone else as assault on you or on net neutrality. This bill has been a hotly debated topic in Michigan, gaining a lot of press about it and a lot of talk on the blogs. Plus the titles "Governor Granholm Selling Out the Internet?" and "Why Jennifer Granholm Really Is Helping Destroy the Internet," didn't really help you with Michigan readers. I don't think anybody is saying that this bill is perfect; it still needs provisions insisting the service be rolled out to all parts of the state not just the wealthy, most profitable parts. I think most people want a neutral Internet, but in order to be taken seriously we need to make the best possible argument.
The biggest threat to a neutral Internet is those who control the backbones, (the trunks of the Internet) the switches, (the machine that tells data where to go) and routers (less complicated switch) the data go through. No matter which provider you get your connection to the Internet from, data still has to travel from point A to point B and it will go past some point in the chain where the Telecom companies could be able to enact a two tiered system.
Let's look at it this way, you are on your way to work and are late so you try to get there as fast as you can; you decide to take the expressway. You drive as fast as you can to the expressway but once you get there, traffic is slowed because of an accident. Finally you make it to your exit and get off the expressway and drive as fast as you can to work. Even though you drove as fast as you could to the expressway and after you got off the expressway, it still took longer to get to work than if the expressway wasn't slowed down. Same thing with the Internet. The data you call up on your computer could be coming from a computer that has a super fast connection, but then it hits a switch the Telecoms have set up to slow traffic from sites that hasn't paid them for a fast connection. Even if the last leg your data travels is as fast as it could be, it still wouldn't reach your computer as fast as it would have if the Telecoms hadn't set up that switch that slowed certain traffic. Really with all our fancy technology, the Internet still is built on top of and out of, the telephone system no matter which provider you get it from.
If you got your internet through a different provider it wouldn't really get around this issue since all these networks are connected together. I think that it would however send a message to the telecom providers that the public does not want to pay for a service that slows down 90% of the Internet.
It's nice to see a lot of fuss being made over net neutrality. But as far as this bill is concerned, it is being blown way out of proportion. One of the things to remember in regards to this bill is that it is not the actual franchising agreement, and any franchising contract that is signed will have to be renewed. Now I doubt that there will be a net neutrality clause added to the franchising contract, but it is possible. Also, regardless of whether or not net neutrality is in this bill or any franchising contract, if congress decided to pass a bill stating that all data sent and received over the internet must be treated as equals the Telecoms would have to comply. We can't stop fighting for this issue if the bill is passed without net neutrality. The important thing is to remember is net neutrality is much bigger than just this bill, and much bigger than just Michigan.