Tuesday, July 15, 2014

FCC Listening To Net Neutrality Comments

With the rise in merger activity likely affecting the future of broadband, there is no doubt that the FCC is taking a serious look at net neutrality.  Net neutrality requires that all digital content, whether it is e-mail or streaming content from Netflix, be handled the same way with equal access through the pipeline to the consumer.  And while some net neutrality remains in effect, some wonder whether there has been some throttling where some content essentially is able to bump ahead in the line. 

This Multichannel article provides an interesting take on what FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler is facing.  First, John Oliver overwhelmed the FCC website with his take on the issue a few weeks ago and consumers continue to flood the site with comments.  According to the article, they have received over 600,000 comments and are extending the deadline to handle the influx. 

Issues regarding net neutrality verse the creation of HOV or high frequency toll lanes for those that pay more lay at the heart of the discussion.  So too the notion of reclassification of broadband as a utility, like electricity and water, could hurt growth of the industry.  A better broadband system requires a better infrastructure and that requires capital.  More competition is also required to enable consumers to choose their broadband provider and allow competition to help lower pricing.  And lastly disruptive technological innovation that improves speed and reliability is important as well.  Governmental regulation tends to limit growth not engage it.  How much the FCC tinkers could affect all these efforts. 

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