The FCC’s attempt to end net neutrality is far from done, as states and private companies file lawsuits and grassroots groups push to keep the internet on a level playing field. But there’s one approach, in particular, that’s beginning to get traction, as towns, cities, and entire states contemplate building public broadband networks of their own.
Public broadband is exactly what it sounds like. The government of a town, city, or even state just sets up their own internet infrastructure, much like you get your water and gas from municipal utilities. Then, you can just pay your broadband bill to the city and stream all the Netflix you want without worrying a private internet service provider will cut off your access.
This has some advantages, like the fact that as a government service, the voters would have control over aspects like taxes and pricing. It also has a few disadvantages, like the fact that local governments could see what web traffic was going where, depending on what filters and rules were in place. But it’s an idea with increasing traction, and — as cities run out of patience with cable companies and internet service providers — public broadband is looking better and better.