• This is a political forum that is non-biased/non-partisan and treats every persons position on topics equally. This debate forum is not aligned to any political party. In today's politics, many ideas are split between and even within all the political parties. Often we find ourselves agreeing on one platform but some topics break our mold. We are here to discuss them in a civil political debate. If this is your first visit to our political forums, be sure to check out the RULES. Registering for debate politics is necessary before posting. Register today to participate - it's free!

Is the Internet a utility?

Is the internet a utility?

  • Yes.

    Votes: 13 56.5%
  • No.

    Votes: 10 43.5%

  • Total voters
    23

Peter Grimm

Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 13, 2011
Messages
10,348
Reaction score
2,426
Location
The anals of history
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Progressive
Simple question, is the internet a utility, similar to heat, power, and water? Why or why not, and what should be the implications with respect to how it's managed?
 

Fisher

DP Veteran
Joined
Sep 18, 2012
Messages
17,002
Reaction score
6,913
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Very Liberal
No because it is not essential for basic survival or disease prevention like electric, water, gas, sewage are.
 

polisciguy

Active member
Joined
Mar 18, 2013
Messages
396
Reaction score
133
Location
Virginia
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Moderate
Simple question, is the internet a utility, similar to heat, power, and water? Why or why not, and what should be the implications with respect to how it's managed?
If it isn't already, it is slowly becoming one. It is becoming increasingly difficult to live without it (even taking into account internet/social networking addicts and leisure activities) given the reliance we have on it for education, banking, etc. As far as how it's managed, I'm not sure what exactly you're getting at, but as far as I'm concerned it should be managed the same way it is now, preferably with zero government interference.
 

Peter Grimm

Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 13, 2011
Messages
10,348
Reaction score
2,426
Location
The anals of history
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Progressive
If it isn't already, it is slowly becoming one. It is becoming increasingly difficult to live without it (even taking into account internet/social networking addicts and leisure activities) given the the reliance we have on it for education, banking, etc. As far as how it's managed, I'm not sure what exactly you're getting at, but as far as I'm concerned it should be managed the same way it is now, preferably with zero government interference.
In most developed countries, utilities are more highly regulated by the government than other businesses. This is due to the public need, and has to do with things like pricing, area covered, etc.
 

AuntiE

Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2013
Messages
100
Reaction score
39
Location
44th Least Free State
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
If it isn't already, it is slowly becoming one. It is becoming increasingly difficult to live without it (even taking into account internet/social networking addicts and leisure activities) given the the reliance we have on it for education, banking, etc. As far as how it's managed, I'm not sure what exactly you're getting at, but as far as I'm concerned it should be managed the same way it is now, preferably with zero government interference.
:eek:t:eek:t I feel greatly sorry for you this coming November. Your choices for governor are pitiful, and that is being generous with my adjective.
 

polisciguy

Active member
Joined
Mar 18, 2013
Messages
396
Reaction score
133
Location
Virginia
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Moderate
Also, porn is important and without the internet, people would have to pay for that :rofl
 

RabidAlpaca

Engineer
DP Veteran
Joined
Feb 4, 2012
Messages
21,387
Reaction score
27,512
Location
American Refugee in Europe
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
No because it is not essential for basic survival or disease prevention like electric, water, gas, sewage are.
Phones and TV are already utilities, but you don't need electricity to live. By your definition, only water and maybe sewage would really count as utilities.

Yes, the internet is a utility.
 

Fisher

DP Veteran
Joined
Sep 18, 2012
Messages
17,002
Reaction score
6,913
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Very Liberal
Aren't phones considered a utility?
IDK. Not that I know of in my area in a general sense. I believe they are not allowed to disconnect service for non-payment from a home where there is a bed-ridden patient but beyond that IDK.
 

polisciguy

Active member
Joined
Mar 18, 2013
Messages
396
Reaction score
133
Location
Virginia
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Moderate
:eek:t:eek:t I feel greatly sorry for you this coming November. Your choices for governor are pitiful, and that is being generous with my adjective.
:eek:t oh yeah, I agree. McAulliffe is a shoo in simply because "The Cooch" loves to say the absolute worst possible thing that could ever be said at the absolute worst possible time. McAulliffe seems like an alright guy as a person, but he has his own scandals to worry about.
 

grip

☚ Who Farted ☛
Supporting Member
DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 1, 2011
Messages
25,074
Reaction score
9,580
Location
Fl
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
I combine my internet as part of my TV and phone service.

Of the 3, which one could you live without the most?

I could live without Internet the most but it's close with TV because I can stream a lot of channels and free movies. I'd have to play with it to make a real determination.
 

Fisher

DP Veteran
Joined
Sep 18, 2012
Messages
17,002
Reaction score
6,913
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Very Liberal
Phones and TV are already utilities, but you don't need electricity to live. By your definition, only water and maybe sewage would really count as utilities.

Yes, the internet is a utility.
To say the internet is a utility is like saying phone sex or Fox News is a utility. It is what you access through electric, telephone lines, cable services, satellite.
 

RabidAlpaca

Engineer
DP Veteran
Joined
Feb 4, 2012
Messages
21,387
Reaction score
27,512
Location
American Refugee in Europe
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
To say the internet is a utility is like saying phone sex or Fox News is a utility. It is what you access through electric, telephone lines, cable services, satellite.
The internet is a medium, not data itself, like phone sex or fox news. Most places even have dedicated lines that don't use the telephone lines or cable services. If it's not using any other utility, what is it?
 

Scrabaholic

misanthrope
Supporting Member
Monthly Subscriber
DP Veteran
Joined
May 1, 2012
Messages
21,268
Reaction score
15,525
Location
Near Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Conservative
Phones and TV are already utilities, but you don't need electricity to live. By your definition, only water and maybe sewage would really count as utilities.

Yes, the internet is a utility.
You pretty much do need electricity to live nowadays, especially in the winter when you need to heat your home. Most houses are not equipped for heating sources that require no power, such as wood stoves.

The internet? No, it is not a utility, IMO.
 

Scrabaholic

misanthrope
Supporting Member
Monthly Subscriber
DP Veteran
Joined
May 1, 2012
Messages
21,268
Reaction score
15,525
Location
Near Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Conservative
IDK. Not that I know of in my area in a general sense. I believe they are not allowed to disconnect service for non-payment from a home where there is a bed-ridden patient but beyond that IDK.
Even if that person never pays the bill? I find that hard to believe. Phone companies are not charities.
 

Fisher

DP Veteran
Joined
Sep 18, 2012
Messages
17,002
Reaction score
6,913
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Very Liberal
The internet is a medium, not data itself, like phone sex or fox news. Most places even have dedicated lines that don't use the telephone lines or cable services. If it's not using any other utility, what is it?
It is using other utilities whether you like it or not and could not exist independent of those utilities--like electric. Where is the other end of those lines hooked up to? Satellite or the same means by which telephone or cable is delivered. There isn't a big building that generates something called "internet". The internet is a derivative of other services. It is a service delivered by appliances just like air conditioning and television content.
 

polisciguy

Active member
Joined
Mar 18, 2013
Messages
396
Reaction score
133
Location
Virginia
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Moderate
I combine my internet as part of my TV and phone service.

Of the 3, which one could you live without the most?

I could live without Internet the most but it's close with TV because I can stream a lot of channels and free movies. I'd have to play with it to make a real determination.
I could likely live without out all three, but the phone the most. I have never liked the thought of people having the ability to just get in touch with you at any given moment. Damn Alexander Graham Bell.
 

Peter Grimm

Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 13, 2011
Messages
10,348
Reaction score
2,426
Location
The anals of history
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Progressive
I combine my internet as part of my TV and phone service.

Of the 3, which one could you live without the most?

I could live without Internet the most but it's close with TV because I can stream a lot of channels and free movies. I'd have to play with it to make a real determination.

I think TV is old technology and it'll be going the way of the fax machine soon enough.

If they were able to wire the whole country with fiber optics (and they could, if it weren't for political red tape), you could stream better-than-HD quality video online without interruption or delay.

You could literally have access to tens of thousands of shows, on demand at any time you feel like watching, at your fingertips, in better-than-retina display using today's technology.

You wouldn't have to "record" a show and you'd never miss anything, you'd just tell the TV what you want to watch, when you want to watch it, and it would be available to you.

You don't have to sit and watch on your laptop either, most TV's today are internet-ready, and the televisions of tomorrow (see Apple) even more so.

Steve Jobs once said that when he watched TV, he felt like he was looking at 20 year old technology. He was right, as usual.
 
Last edited:

Peter Grimm

Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 13, 2011
Messages
10,348
Reaction score
2,426
Location
The anals of history
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Progressive
I could likely live without out all three, but the phone the most. I have never liked the thought of people having the ability to just get in touch with you at any given moment. Damn Alexander Graham Bell.
Land lines are not needed today and are actually quite cumbersome, in my opinion. Why have a land line if you have a cell phone?
 

TacticalEvilDan

Shankmasta Killa
DP Veteran
Joined
Feb 16, 2008
Messages
10,444
Reaction score
4,479
Location
Western NY and Geneva, CH
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Other
10 years ago I would've said "no," but between employers who will assume the worst if you lack a Facebook, vendors and banks trying to push online account management, online employability verification, and even tax returns that must be eFiled under certain circumstances, I'd have to say it is at this point.

The main thing, from my perspective, is neutrality. The technology was the product of government investment, improved with a lot of open-source development, and currently runs on an architecture which has seen a lot of subsidies and operates in what amounts to a monopoly. You'll see DSL and cable and satellite competing, but you aren't going to see half a dozen cable providers engaging in a similar competition. In some areas you can't get one or more of those services, further increasing competition -- for example, at my parent's house out in the sticks you couldn't get cable or digital phone service, so satellite is your only option.

Aside from that, privacy. I want to see the government showing the same deference to Internet communications that mail and telephone conversations get (which isn't saying much at this point, I know, maybe a private discussion in the comfort of your own home is a better example).
 

polisciguy

Active member
Joined
Mar 18, 2013
Messages
396
Reaction score
133
Location
Virginia
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Moderate
Land lines are not needed today and are actually quite cumbersome, in my opinion. Why have a land line if you have a cell phone?
I agree. For me, I just use my cell. I could do without it as well. :lol:
 

Peter Grimm

Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 13, 2011
Messages
10,348
Reaction score
2,426
Location
The anals of history
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Progressive
You pretty much do need electricity to live nowadays, especially in the winter when you need to heat your home. Most houses are not equipped for heating sources that require no power, such as wood stoves.

The internet? No, it is not a utility, IMO.
It might depend on where you live too. We don't need heat in Texas.
 

Peter Grimm

Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 13, 2011
Messages
10,348
Reaction score
2,426
Location
The anals of history
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Progressive
10 years ago I would've said "no," but between employers who will assume the worst if you lack a Facebook, vendors and banks trying to push online account management, online employability verification, and even tax returns that must be eFiled under certain circumstances, I'd have to say it is at this point.

The main thing, from my perspective, is neutrality. The technology was the product of government investment, improved with a lot of open-source development, and currently runs on an architecture which has seen a lot of subsidies and operates in what amounts to a monopoly. You'll see DSL and cable and satellite competing, but you aren't going to see half a dozen cable providers engaging in a similar competition. In some areas you can't get one or more of those services, further increasing competition -- for example, at my parent's house out in the sticks you couldn't get cable or digital phone service, so satellite is your only option.

Aside from that, privacy. I want to see the government showing the same deference to Internet communications that mail and telephone conversations get (which isn't saying much at this point, I know, maybe a private discussion in the comfort of your own home is a better example).
Hell I live in downtown Dallas, a city of several million, and my only options for internet are Time Warner Cable and AT&T's crappy DSL.
 

earthworm

DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 21, 2005
Messages
5,728
Reaction score
904
Location
Goldsboro,PA
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Progressive
An excellent query...Utilities are 99.9% an absolute necessity.
The internet / communications is at the same...but remove the communications (eMail and ? ) and its a luxury, IMO.
 

Gimmesometruth

Gutless Coward
DP Veteran
Joined
Feb 21, 2012
Messages
29,159
Reaction score
6,245
Location
US Southwest
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Liberal
Public Utility:

Enterprise that provides certain classes of services to the public, including common-carrier transportation (buses, airlines, railroads); telephone and telegraph services; power, heat and light; and community facilities for water and sanitation. In most countries such enterprises are state-owned and state-operated; in the U.S. they are mainly privately owned, but they operate under close regulation. Given the technology of production and distribution, they are considered natural monopolies, since the capital costs for such enterprises are large and the existence of competing or parallel systems would be inordinately expensive and wasteful. Government regulation in the U.S., particularly at the state level, aims to ensure safe operation, reasonable rates, and service on equal terms to all customers. Some states have experimented with deregulation of electricity and natural-gas operations to stimulate price reductions and improved service through competition, but the results have not been universally promising.



So while internet providers have largely supplanted/absorbed telephone (I believe nearly all telephone/cell voice/data is on the internet for interstate calls), they are not regulated (yet) to the same extent.

So yes, internet providers are a public utility.
 
Top Bottom