Net neutrality won a big supporter last week. President Obama said that he thought that the internet should be regulated as a utility, and for once that guy might be onto something.
Why is that? Well, a utility is a service, like gas, electricity, and water, that is so essential that the government makes sure companies can’t pick and choose who they provide it to. The internet is pretty much essential for most of us (I for one would rather watch Gilmore Girls than shower), but internet service providers would LOVE to choose which data gets to their customers. For example, ISPs could slow Netflix streams way down unless Netflix pays them a hefty fee (in fact, Comcast has already done this).
Why should internet be a utility? To answer that, let’s imagine what it would be like if our current utilities behaved like the internet.
Illustrations By Kevin Alvir