The most strident proponents of “net neutrality” want the Federal Communications Commission to declare broadband a utility, so the government can ensure that everyone gets equal access to the best Internet service that today’s providers can offer.
Had they gotten this wish back in 1999, there is a good chance we would all get online today using state-of-the-art dial-up modems.
The FCC is trying to walk a fine line in its regulation of broadband. By a 3-2 vote, it has advanced a proposal that seems to be a reasonable attempt. The proposal would allow large traffic generators, like Netflix, to enter into deals with Internet service providers to ensure the fastest possible service, and thus underwrite the infrastructure that their service requires. At the same time, the proposal would prevent broadband vendors, like Comcast, from blocking or severely slowing traffic from competing websites that do not pay extra to use the fast lane. New Internet sites would reach consumers at whatever speeds consumers paid vendors to provide.