It's Official—High-Speed Internet Is Considered A Utility

It's Official—High-Speed Internet Is Considered A Utility

The court's ruling and what it means for consumers.


Most of us, at one time or another, have experienced the frustration of being unable to connect to the Internet. With the prevalence of social media in particular, the Internet is such a central part of our lives that many would consider it an absolute necessity.

But how important is having Internet access, really? We can survive without being able to log onto Facebook or being able to Google search for snickerdoodle recipes. The world will continue to spin even if we aren’t able to shop online or binge-watch TV shows on Hulu.

As society continues to transition to being more technology-based, many jobs are beginning to require not only access to, but sufficient knowledge of the Internet. Considering the regular utilization by businesses of web-based programs such as Google Sheets to conduct daily operations, the ability to connect to the Internet is now considered a prerequisite for a growing number of companies. So, to answer the previously posed question—having internet access is very, very, very important, so much so that a federal appeals court recently ruled that high-speed Internet is a utility—not just a luxury.

This isn’t the first time the issue of regulating Internet providers has been up for debate. Last year, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) established net neutrality rules for various broadband services. Net neutrality basically means that Internet providers cannot reward certain companies with better Internet service just because those companies are able to pay for a faster connection.

The reasoning behind this decision? Because the internet is considered a basic utility, advocates argue that it should have regulations—just like telephone, gas, and water services. Internet providers weren’t so happy about this act of government intervention, so they sued, arguing that their private companies should be able to decide how to handle their services.

Last week, a federal appeals court upheld net neutrality rules, but Internet providers aren't backing down just yet. They plan to appeal to the decision, meaning this won’t be the last time we’re going to hear about this issue.

This ruling is a victory for consumers everywhere, especially those living in rural areas with limited access to the Internet. For example, in Kentucky, “one out of every four households does not have access to broadband services.” Competition isn’t as prevalent in these rural areas, which makes it easier for Internet providers to jack up prices; this can have a detrimental impact on people who have trouble affording expensive broadband services.

Consumers who are financially unable to access the Internet could face serious obstacles to being hired and/or maintaining a job in our increasingly technology-driven society; this is why the federal appeals court’s recent decision is so significant. Mary Newell, a member of the Rural Broadband Policy Group, further insisted that “it is critical that this communications tool that is absolutely essential to do business in the 21st century, that it be an open system.”

In the big picture, the Internet is relatively new. Twenty years ago, no one was arguing over whether or not rules and regulations should be applied to the Internet. The process of navigating these types of issues regarding the Internet is new to virtually everyone, which means there will undoubtedly be bumps along the way to establishing specific policies about the Internet. As our society continues to progress and technology begins to infiltrate even more sectors of our lives, it’s safe to assume that we can expect more debates of this nature to arise in the future.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

These Superfood Beauty Products Show Kale And Matcha Work For SO Much More Than We Thought

Just another summer's day with a cold glass of kombucha on my face.

I've been vegan for about six years now, so a love for fresh vegetables and superfoods has now become a core part of my being. Don't get me wrong. I love my indulgent, creamy pastas and truffle fries more than anyone. But I keep most of my focus on eating clean and healthy so I can indulge guilt-free.

But I'd say about a large part of my diet has always, unknowingly, included superfoods. Being Indian, lentils, beetroot, garlic, ginger, and whole grains have been core essentials on the family dinner table since I could digest solid foods.

Keep Reading... Show less

Now that college is around the corner for most if not all young adults, students once shook by a pandemic now have to shift their focus on achieving their career goals. As if we thought we had it together already! As an NYC girl, I have always seen myself as a hustler, hungry to advance my career in journalism by having one skill: working hard.

Keep Reading... Show less

Kourtney Kardashian has decided to leave "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" after nearly 14 years and although we saw this coming, it breaks our heart that she won't be there to make us laugh with her infamous attitude and hilarious one-liners.

Kourtney is leaving the show because it was taking up too much of her life and it was a "toxic environment" for her.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

We Asked You How You Felt About Resuming 'Normal' Activities, And Some Of Your Answers Shocked Us

The New York Times asked 511 epidemiologists when they'd feel comfortable doing "normal" activities again, considering COVID-19. We asked our peers the same thing, for science.

Last month, the New York Times surveyed about 500 epidemiologists asking about their comfort level with certain activities once deemed normal — socializing with friends, going to the doctor, bringing in the mail. That's all well and good for the experts, but they are a very niche group, not the majority of the population. What do "normal" people feel safe doing? In certain states, we've seen how comfortable everyone is with everything (looking at you, Florida), but we wanted to know where Odyssey's readers fell on the comfort scale. Are they sticking with the epidemiologists who won't be attending a wedding for another year, or are they storming the sunny beaches as soon as possible?

Keep Reading... Show less
Disney Plus

Millions of musical-lovers around the world rejoiced when "Hamilton," the hip-hop-mixtape-turned-musical harder to get in to than Studio 54, came to Disney Plus.

For those who had the luxury of being able to watch it in person and rewatch it with us mere mortals on our screens, the experience was almost as gripping as sitting feet from Lin-Manuel Miranda himself. From the stunning sets, graceful choreography, witty dialogue, and hauntingly beautiful singing, the experience was one even my musical-averse family felt moved by.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Keto Is All Fun And Games Until You're Undernourished And Almost Pass Out

Keto is just another extension of diet culture that boasts rapid weight loss, but at a steep price.

Photo by LOGAN WEAVER on Unsplash

There has been a Keto diet craze going around in the past couple of years, with many of its followers claiming significant weight loss. With any new, trendy diet claiming miraculous weight-loss, one starts to wonder what exactly is happening behind the curtain. The keto, or ketogenic, diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that claims to help the body shift its fuel source from carbs to fat. In the medical community it has been prescribed to patients with uncontrolled epilepsy to reduce the frequency of seizures, but other than that there is little conclusive evidence to other potential benefits.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments