The appeals court that is typically the last stop for regulatory disputes has ruled that the Internet is a utility:
The court’s decision upholds the F.C.C. on the declaration of broadband as a utility, the most significant aspect of the rules. That has broad-reaching implications for web and telecommunications companies and signals a shift in the government’s view of broadband as a service that should be equally accessible to all Americans, rather than a luxury that does not need close government supervision.
The ruling may open a path for new limits on broadband providers. Google and Netflix support net neutrality rules and have warned government officials that without regulatory limits, broadband providers would have an incentive to create business models that could harm consumers. They argue that broadband providers could degrade the quality of downloads and streams of online services to extract tolls from web companies or to promote unfairly their own competing services or the content of partners.
This is very good news to those of us worried about the dominance of carriers. There's not other way to solve the "last mile" problem, I think, than this, forcing your local telco or cable company to treat all Internet traffic equally. It's still subject to appeal to the Supreme Court; here's hoping they don't grant certiorari.