Net Neutrality Changes Coming Soon?
The world of Net Neutrality appears to be on the verge of getting an overhaul.
Who is for and who is against Net Neutrality? Companies who provide Internet content like Netflix and Google argue that the FCC needs the power to protect and provide for an open Internet. On the other side are companies like Comcast and AT&T who provide the bandwidth that all Internet content companies use. The bandwidth providers generally argue against Net Neutrality because they claim that the FCC’s control of the Internet is too broad, too strict and too encumbering.
So far companies like Netflix and Google have had their way, but it seems virtually certain now that this is about to change.
FCC’s new chairman, Ajit Pai , appointed by President Trump, announced on Friday that he’s curtailing the FCC’s investigation into whether companies like Verizon and AT&T are violating current Net Neutrality rules by offering their customers streaming content that does not count against customer’s monthly wireless data caps. Experts see this as the beginning of the end for Net Neutrality, at least as it has been generally interpreted.
So what’s likely to happen if the new FCC chairman and the Trump administration get their way?
Fast Lanes and Slow Lanes. Content providers like Netflix, Google, Hulu and others could, in the future, make deals with ISPs paying premiums so that ISPs guarantee optimal delivery of their content. Content in these cases meaning streaming video, music, movies, etc.
If there is a Fast Lane that implies a Slow Lane. Once the FCC allows content providers to bid for and make deals to ensure that their content can be delivered to consumers on so-called “Fast Lanes”, that implies the other lane is a Slow Lane. Smaller, less affluent companies and content providers who cannot pay for Fast Lane access, may be left in the Slow Lane. This would provide a competitive advantage to affluent companies. Smaller content provider and web companies would be less likely able to compete.
More free data offers. You can expect to see more deals like AT&T’s and Verizon’s deals that let their respective users access streaming content from from company-owned services without counting against monthly data caps imposed on wireless customers.
What about competition? Current Net Neutrality proponents claim that the rules which have been in place, ensure fair competition by leveling the playing field. In other words, less affluent content providers can compete with affluent mega content providers like Verizon and AT&T. Those who favor less regulation of the Internet, insist that competition and innovation will flourish in an environment where there are less stringent rules and guidelines, and less government control.
Over the next few months, you can expect the FCC to begin the process to adopt more business-friendly Net neutrality rules. The changes, which experts say are almost certain to be implemented, could allow ISPs to consider paying for faster content delivery. This would be the beginning of so-called Fast Lanes and Slow Lanes.
So what do you think? Will these changes be good for you, the average Internet user? What do you think?