Chattanooga has proven to everyone else that having a public option for internet, cable, and phone service is better for consumers. And though the big companies would never admit it, the competition that socialist local broadband networks provide is the heart of the free-market capitalism they claim to espouse.
While it is great that Net Neutrality principles, which means that they can't screw with your Internet service, may be put into effect, it belies the more pervasive problems -- you may not be able to afford (or want to pay for) that service or get that service or have a choice about who offers you that service.
This week's FCC action should bring a long-delayed victory for net neutrality. It's an important victory, without which the online world that we've come to take for granted would risk being auctioned off to the highest bidder. But this victory might never have happened without an unlikely political coalition a decade ago.
On February 26, the FCC will do something that few have ever accused the government of doing. It will recognize reality and act appropriately. That, in a nutshell, is the debate over net neutrality. Just as plain telephone service connected people and was regulated, now it's data services. Calls or video are all just megabits. Telephone companies couldn't discriminate in their traffic then, neither should they or cable companies be able to play favorites or manipulate customers now. That basic, regulated fairness is what allowed the Internet to develop, a point some current opponents seem to miss, whether blinded by ideology or money. But if you listen to the anguished cri de coeur from the loyal defenders of the big telecom companies, you would think the FCC's action was a government coup d'interconnecter -- a takeover of The Internet.