The FCC approved new rules on Thursday in a 3-2 vote to reclassify broadband Internet service as a public utility. This means, among other things, that we finally have Net Neutrality.
At least until Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, or someone beholding to the broadband Internet provider industry goes to court and gets the decision overturned.
Until this 3-2 decision by the FCC, the Internet was legally considered an information service. Because of this wacky and incorrect classification, the FCC was powerless to enforce Net Neutrality. Broadband Internet providers don’t serve information, they simply connect customers to an actual information service, like Netflix, Wikipedia, Amazon, or YouTube.
To use a really bad metaphor, broadband Internet providers aren’t the book store, they’re the road you drive on to get to the book store.
To further use this awful “road versus book store metaphor,” if the entity running the roads wanted its customers to drive to Barnes & Noble and not Books-A-Million, because Barnes & Noble paid them a lot of money and Books-A-Million didn’t, all they would need to do is increase the speed limit on all the roads leading to Barnes & Noble and lower the speed limit on all the roads going to Books-A-Million.
It’s not a really good metaphor. Roads are run by local, state, or federal government and most people don’t pay a monthly fee for using roads. The same cannot be said about broadband Internet. Most people pay a lot of money every month for broadband Internet. Compared to the rest of the world, we pay far too much.