Updated on December 10, 2021
Wins for net neutrality and saner regulation policies came on Thursday from the FCC. Along a party-line 3-2 vote, the US communications regulator has voted to reclassify the Internet as a utility, just like telephone service or electricity.
I’ve written earlier about all of this, but this is a good thing for everyone that isn’t Comcast (or similar telco), bought off by Comcast/similar telcos, or conservatives/libertarians. (Ignoring that even the latter would benefit from net neutrality, since it isn’t a partisan issue…)
It also finally affirms that the Internet is no longer a novelty item, luxury item, or “thing for the kids” as it was treated by some in the earlier days of the 90s, but a piece of infrastructure as important as telephone or electrical service. Just as we no longer debate whether or not rural electrification or phone service is a good idea, the Internet should be treated similarly. My dinky blog and CNN, despite the vast difference in size and relevance, should be treated similarly by ISPs in terms of accessibility, and not whether Time Warner or myself can afford to cough up a fee to “grease the wheels” (a la Netflix).
Of course, the opposition won’t be giving up easily. Comcast and Verizon have already made their dislike of the ruling known, Verizon in an adolescent fashion (writing their complaint in Morse code), and I’m sure lawsuits will be coming. Conservatives in Congress also hope to pass a law to stop this, though President Obama’s vowed to veto such bills.
Some online are also throwing a temper-tantrum over trumped-up anti-government fears—“higher taxes”/”government control”/”big government”/”it’ll hurt business,” none of which is true. Even if they were true, cable bills have skyrocketed well past the rate of inflation, any operating costs, or any tax increase in recent years. There’s also no competing broadband alternatives available for most Americans. None of which will change if Comcast, Verizon, etc. are left to their own ends, as the status quo is working just fine for them.