Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Broadband To Be Considered A Utility Service

As our President faces the last 2 years of office, he no longer has to worry about reelection, rather about his legacy.  And so, as it pertains to the world of the web, he is pushing all out for full net neutrality.  Like water, electricity, and gas and oil to the home, Obama and the FCC want to regulate broadband service just as fiercely. 

Net neutrality assures that no matter what the content, whether a simple email message or full HD video, the internet would treat both pieces of data exactly the same, transmitting them at the same speed as everything else.  No blocking of content, no throttling or slow down of speed of certain data.  All will be treated exactly the same.

But it is that same heavy use of government oversight and regulation that can also slow down or even stop a free economy from doing what it does best, innovate to create new solutions to old problems.  With such freedom comes new opportunities, new industries, and new businesses.  But add government to the mix and while data is free, innovation may be what gets throttled instead.  That is certainly the line that broadband providers like Comcast and others fear buy a heavily regulated broadband industry.

Content creators and other users of the web hope that net neutrality assures that their work gets equal access and that they do not have to resort to paying broadband providers to get into the HOV lane.  Netflix agreed to pay providers to assure that their subscription service wasn't penalized; they would love to not have to pay for play. 

Is there a middle ground that assures equal access without over regulating the process?  Ultimately, a solution is needed.  Broadband access has become more essential to the home then ever before.  Some might even rank it above heat and water.  Still, at the end of the day, what is most needed is to lower barriers to entry in broadband platforms and encourage more competition.  That is ultimately what will enable consumers to find the best possible value for the best price.