The question of whether or not broadband Internet service should be considered a public utility is a hot-button issue, especially in the U.S., where the battle over net neutrality rages on. Internet service providers are currently classified as information services, meaning the Federal Communications Commission is unable to regulate them as it does telecommunication utilities such as landline phones. There has been a call (supported by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, among others) to reclassify ISPs as utilities, which would give the FCC greater control over them, thus helping to ensure an open Internet.

Politics aside, however, one thing seems clear: in the not-too-distant future, homeowners and renters will consider a broadband hook-up to be on par with utilities such as running water, electricity, and HVAC. This necessity will be delivered through a utility gateway somewhere within the home, be it in the basement, the garage, or even on the side of the residence.

This gateway will allow residents to quickly connect to a broadband network via both Wi-Fi and MoCA, or Multimedia over Coax Alliance technology, which can turn existing in-home coaxial cable into a whole-home entertainment network.

That network could include multi-room DVR, online gaming, and seamless delivery of content from the Internet or your computer straight to your TV. But there will be more to recommend the smart home of the future than just entertainment. The utility gateway will also give consumers the means to remotely monitor and control home-security systems, appliances, and heating.

It won’t all happen by magic, of course. With more and more connected devices in the home, consumers will demand higher broadband speeds. Some service providers are already offering one-gigabit-per-second broadband to their customers, but if the in-home network isn’t equipped to handle that speed, it won’t do them much good.

That’s where Ethernet-to-coax adapters come in. These devices use MoCA to extend Wi-Fi coverage to every corner of the house. In essence, they transform coax into the backbone of a powerful delivery architecture for wireless devices. WiFi transparent Media Distribution Hubs from Primex provide up to 15x more wireless pass-through strength than metal alternatives, which is key to maintaining signal integrity across a home network.

For most of us, 1 Gbps to the home is still on the horizon, and a fully connected residence, or smart home, is still a dream. But the technology already exists; it just needs to be implemented. If broadband is indeed the utility of the future, the future has never seemed so close.