Friday, February 27, 2015

FCC Rules ISPs Are A Utility

The internet is now classified as a regulated utility and net neutrality is enabled.  Certainly, for content creators and consumers, content must now flow freely and equally to your devices.  But what was the problem and do these regulations really solve them.  Weren't we getting access to all our content already?  Did you really see that certain content was not getting to you? 

While nothing will change immediately, what will not be a surprise will be how many lawsuits will arise to fight this new law before it can initiate.  Given how long it takes decisions to get through the court system, it should be tied up for quite a while.  The greatest example is the Janet Jackson Super Bowl example regarding on air decency.  That case took years to finally decide that there was no fine to be levied.  Still it clogged up the courts.  So too will this new internet regulation law.

The hope is that during that time that new innovation arises to improve speed and efficiency of broadband, new competitors grab a share of the marketplace via a wired and wireless approach, and that the fast pace of change in this industry makes the law irrelevant before it has time to take effect.  My biggest concern is that regulation only slows down innovation and growth, doesn't drive a competitive marketplace, or lower prices.  Yes, net neutrality as a concept is a good thing; all content should be able to reach its destination as fast as possible.  But wrapped in other regulations, the internet as a communication highway only gets hurt more.