Our nation’s high-speed internet is in the hands of just a few private companies that act, in many regions, like monopolies. That’s indisputable. But while it’s easy to attack the monopoly part, should we be focusing on private? Is the internet such an ingrained part of existence at this point that it should be considered—and regulated as—a public utility?
That question is raised convincingly in a Bloomberg piece last week detailing how, as a modern day internet customer, you invariably end up paying more for less. And before you dismiss the notion of redefining how the internet is distributed, remember that electricity was once seen as a luxury, in the hands of private businesses and accessible only to the wealthy. You shouldn’t have to use dial-up any more than you should light your house with candles.
So what do you think? Make high-speed internet every bit as universally accessible and affordable as water, gas and electricity? Or is the need to check your Facebook status nowhere near the same ballpark as the need to flush your toilet?