Last April, a dozen New York-based Internet companies gathered in the Flatiron Building boardroom of the social media website Tumblr to hear dire warnings that broadband providers were about to get the right to charge for the fastest speeds on the web.
The implication: If they didn’t pay up, they would be stuck in the slow lane.
What followed has been the longest, most sustained campaign of Internet activism in history, one that the little guys appear to have won. On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission is expected to vote to regulate the Internet as a public good. On Tuesday, Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota and chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, all but surrendered on efforts to overturn the coming ruling, conceding Democrats are lining up with President Obama in favor of the F.C.C.