A federal court has officially ruled high speed internet as utility rather than a luxury and the Editorial Board is hyped. Not only does this mean the cost of internet might decrease but also that broadband companies will face increased policing while customers get better protection.
The two to one court decision from the District of Columbia Circuit Court upholds the government’s assertion the internet is something that should be monitored by the government.
The case upheld the rules that enforce net neutrality, which prevent internet providers from slowing down internet service or blocking content to customers.
As you might remember, the rules about net neutrality were set up by the Federal Communications Committee in 2015, which created a huge legal battle between the FCC and internet providers who were worried about net neutrality harming their businesses.
The great thing about the internet is the equal access available to all services and information. Net neutrality protects that freedom from encroaching control of manipulation from broadband companies.
Recognizing internet as a utility prevents these companies from delivering information or content at slower speeds, creating fast and slow internet lanes that are controlled by the providers.
These fast and slow lanes would subject business and independent consumers to extra charges.
Many tech companies, consumers and President Obama rallied in favor of government regulation by the FCC, which declared internet as a utility in the first place. This court decision backed up the FCC’s claim of internet as a utility that will be heavily regulated.
Though government regulation of the internet might sound like the internet will get less cool and helpful with your homework, do not fear. The FCC and many telecommunications companies have been fighting broadband providers in order to make sure all consumers can get cheaper internet with equal access to all sites and information.
The two judges who wrote the opinion for this case, David Tatel and Sri Srinivasan, said, “Over the past two decades, this content has transformed nearly every aspect of our lives, from profound actions like choosing a leader, building a career, and falling in love to more quotidian ones like hailing a cab and watching a movie.”
The Editorial Board couldn’t agree more with the judges on how essential the internet is to navigating the current state of world and how transformative the internet is in providing people with access to information.
Although this court decision is definitely a step in the right direction for consumers, the legal battle is far from over. AT&T said it would continue to fight against the government.
David McAtee II, senior executive vice president and general counsel for AT&T said in the New York Times, “We have always expected this issue to be decided by the Supreme Court and we look forward to participating in that appeal.”
Even though AT&T is expecting to continue the fight against net neutrality and the internet as a utility, this current decision limits broadband companies, such as Comcast and Verizon, from changing or controlling the internet experience and content for consumers.
Thankfully, the FCC is on the side of the consumer on this one and for now internet providers are limited to just providing us with unadulterated Internet access, whether it be to cat videos or online banking, just the way we like it.