A battle is brewing over the concept of net neutrality: on one side is the Federal Communications Commission, which is pushing forward with its view that it does in fact have the regulatory wherewithal to regulate ISP providers. Essentially, in an order that it passed on Tuesday, the FCC is is forbidding ISPs from blocking access to lawful content and websites and requiring them to disclose their network management practices.
On the other side are said ISP providers and their allies on Congress, namely Republicans, who are framing this issue in terms of excessive government interference of Internet content and delivery. While this may well seem to be an arcane, industry-specific issue, in fact it could have immediate ramifications for marketers that are looking at developing more video and streaming media content for their campaigns next year.
Here are some considerations to keep in mind:
While the FCC did pass these rules on Tuesday - in a 3-2 vote decided along partisan lines - there will be challenges by the providers in the courts and likely by the Republicans in Congress.
Even as Congress and the FCC dukes it out, broadband providers are trying to skirt the issue by, well, calling it something else entirely. Level 3 Communications, which handles Netflix’s Internet traffic, reported recently that Comcast started demanding more money to accept that traffic. Comcast says it’s merely a commercial dispute -and has nothing to do with Net Neutrality. (via Crunch Gear).
These rules will have little impact on what has become a major Internet channel - wireless. While the FCC is requiring that broadband providers do not discriminate against lawful content, no rule has been put in place for wireless providers, notes Politico. Indeed the wireless users may find themselves subject to bill shock in coming weeks and months. Carriers are ramping up to introduce new features and services based on super-fast Internet connection speeds for mobile devices. The bill for such services will be higher, much higher, than the average cellphone bill is now - and according to an analysis recently by the Washington Post - the consumer will have a difficult time navigating the charges - or even, for that matter, picking the plan that best suits his or her needs.
The unlimited calling plans are heading to extinction, to be replaced with tiered pricing packages that will be based on how much data is consumed or how fast that content is delivered - or possibly both. "There are no definitive answers here," Peter Thonis, a spokesman for Verizon told the Washington Post.