Tuesday, 05 July 2016 12:21

Yes, the internet is like a utility


Imagine you are launching a startup and you require speedy internet access for you and your customers. Imagine you are one of the customers.

Now imagine speed that is not quite up to snuff to the Amazons and Netflix of the world — your would-be competitors. You’d quickly go under. And those consumers? Color them frustrated because they’ve been denied choice.

Preventing that is the promise of a 2-1 ruling recently by a federal appeals court for net neutrality, the concept that broadband service companies shouldn’t be able to create slow lanes and fast lanes based on ability to pay. Tech giants such as Amazon and Netflix have supported net neutrality.

Of course, that’s not how those representing broadband providers characterize the ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. They say the ruling for net neutrality will stymie innovation because it won’t encourage improved connections.

No; just as likely, more competitors for internet services will enter the field and they will provide innovation — and a level playing field in which the consumer benefits because of more choices. If this ruling stands, broadband companies won’t be able to divide those dependent on the internet into haves and have-nots.

This case pitted the Federal Communications Commission against those representing the broadband companies, which were clearly hungry for the ability to be high-cost gatekeepers.

The latest ruling is premised on the notion that the internet is more public utility than a mere conveyance for cat and puppy videos. It is more than an information provider, what the broadband companies argued in successfully challenging net neutrality earlier. If the ruling stands, the federal government can regulate the pipeline to encourage equal access for everyone.

It’s hard to argue with the concept. Whether for work or play, imagine your broadband service even clunkier — as in slower — than it is today.

Those opposing net neutrality have pledged to take this all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. And there is no reason not to believe them. This is why this ruling still offers but a promise of net neutrality.

But it is a promise that portends a level playing field for businesses and consumers. We hope the Supreme Court sees this as clearly.

Source:  http://www.mysanantonio.com/opinion/editorials/article/Yes-the-internet-is-like-a-utility-8337056.php

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