The internet is the railroad of our times - an essential piece of public infrastructure over which much of the world's commerce and communication is now conducted. Yet the companies that dominate it are private, profit-seeking entities. And like the rail companies of old, they pose a monopoly problem.

It's a point that's worth careful consideration given the warnings in recent days about the power wielded by big technology companies from all over, including the head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, and the US Department of Justice's antitrust chief, Makan Delrahim, who referenced early railroad competition violations in a