Here’s a little secret: Nobody actually knows what the economic and societal ramifications will be if the Federal Communications Commission heeds President Obama’s call to classify broadband internet as a utility (more precisely, a “telecommunications service”). You might be surprised by this if you’ve been listening for the past week to combatants on both sides declaring with seeming certainty that such a move would either save the internet or ruin it. But it’s a little like that saying about academic arguments being so vicious because the stakes are so low — here the convictions are perhaps so strong because the evidence is so inconclusive.

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