The internet: Commodity or Utility?


In this article, the author talks about what the internet should be classified as, a commodity or utility. Currently, the internet is classified as an “information service” which is governed under the Title I of the Communications Act. This means internet service providers have less of a regulatory burden than that of “telecommunication service” providers. Which are governed under Title II of the Communications Act. If the internet is classified as a utility, it would be heavily regulated and their services would be dispersed evenly between all customers. If the internet were to be classified as a commodity, the pricing and availability would be controlled by supply and demand rather than federal authorities. Each classification seems to have its advantages and disadvantages. So, my question is do you think the internet should be classified as a commodity or utility? Why?

One Response to The internet: Commodity or Utility?

  • I love this topic, but I usually fall on the other side of the debate as opposed to the author of this article. I won’t say this article convinced me otherwise, but it was interesting to hear another perspective. I disagree with him on his points. In fact, to answer your question, the advantage of reclassification of Title II for Internet allows the government to enforce net neutrality. Net neutrality is what allows for the entire digital marketplace to exist – Google and Netflix were born from it, and future companies can come to fruition under net neutrality regulations. His premise that Google or Netflix would not invest in the R&D that they do under Title II makes no sense, because it doesn’t cripple them at all. Google would be subject to regulations on their Google Fiber initiative, but Google is interested in becoming an ISP in order to provide greater broadband access (more people with access to the Internet means more Google customers), not because they are seeking significant profit in that market.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to class via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this class and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 23 other subscribers