Sen. Kerry: FCC should change its rules, not wait for Congress, to ensure net neutrality

For their part, it appears as if the FCC is poised to travel the re-classification route. The panel's two Democratic-leaning commissioners signaled in statements shortly after last Tuesday's ruling that they would vote in favor of declaring broadband a "telecommunications service" they could then regulate in the name of net neutrality. They are joined by Chairman Julius Genachowski, who has long emphasized the importance of unfettered Internet.

Even if telecom giants follow through on their threats to fight re-classification in court, Kerry stressed Wednesday those fights may be far less consuming than those that would likely play out in the Senate. His op-ed predicted any legislation that effectively grants the FCC the right to regulate net neutrality would meet stiff political opposition, which could take considerable time to overcome.

The senator consequently called on readers to petition their elected officials to support net neutrality, or risk a "win" for telecom companies that allows them to block or throttle online traffic "as they wish"

"The FCC couldn't help disabled people access the Internet, give public officials priority access to the network in times of emergency, or implement a national broadband plan to improve the deplorable situation where the United States -- the country that invented the Internet -- lags far behind in our broadband infrastructure," he wrote. "In short, it would take away a key check on the power of phone and cable corporations to do whatever they want with our Internet."