Broadband providers have spent years lobbying against utility-style regulations that protect consumers from high prices and bad service.
But now, broadband lobby groups are arguing that Internet service is similar to utilities such as electricity, gas distribution, roads, and water and sewer networks. In the providers’ view, the essential nature of broadband doesn’t require more regulation to protect consumers. Instead, they argue that broadband’s utility-like status is reason for the government to give ISPs more money.
That’s the argument made by trade groups USTelecom and NTCA—The Rural Broadband Association. USTelecom represents telcos including AT&T, Verizon, and CenturyLink, while NTCA represents nearly 850 small ISPs.