An appeals court panel affirmed the Federal Communications Commission’s rules about net neutrality, clearing the way for stricter oversight of broadband providers.
Source: Court Backs Rules Treating Internet as Utility, Not Luxury – The New York Times
It seems as though having access to high-speed internet is one of those things that individuals and businesses need to survive in this day and age. This idea was officially endorsed by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit which recently defined the internet to be a utility as opposed to a luxury. What this means is that broadband companies like AT&T or Verizon must allow all of their customers to enjoy the same internet speeds no matter how much they are paying for their services. This is a huge win for consumers; at least, let’s hope that it is.
The reason why I am somewhat skeptical about this decision is because the ruling by the Court of Appeals is by no means the final word on the issue of net neutrality. It seems as though broadband companies are going to continue to challenge the decision until it reaches the Supreme Court. Therefore, while this is certainly good news, we should not be too quick to start celebrating; there is still a long road ahead. The other issue that I want to point out is that by defining the internet as a utility the government is able to further regulate what internet providers can and cannot do. This might lead to an increase in rates, something which nobody really wants. Let’s just hope that lawmakers are able to balance the needs of consumers correctly so that the internet remains accessible for all of us for the foreseeable future.