Internet Slated to Change Today With Net Neutrality Vote
Pro or con, marketers are keeping a close eye on Washington today if they have any economic stake in the Internet at all. The FCC is expected to roll back “Net Neutrality” regulation in a move that many believe will favor cable companies, their equipment suppliers, and big brands with deep pockets.
These two technical words that used to lull to sleep marketers and consumers alike are now spurring petition drives and outcry from content providers such as Wikipedia, which is often synonymous with Google snippets. (Yesterday, the snippet describing Net Neutrality was pulled from Wikipedia.) The Wikimedia blog post from Dec. 4 reads, in part:
Net neutrality is essential to prevent a new digital divide from opening between those Internet users who can afford to pay to access all information online and those who cannot afford to do so. The FCC’s current net neutrality rules help make sure that every Internet user in the United States can access any information found online. If these protections are rolled back and ISPs are allowed to block or throttle traffic from websites and applications, not all subscribers may be able to afford access to content they have today.
A Fortune article published yesterday detailed a study saying 83 percent of consumers are against repealing Net Neutrality, as well as a few marketers who may be hurt by the action:
Many tech companies are also against the move, ranging from giants such as Netflix and Amazon to sites such as Reddit, Etsy and Kickstarter. Some argue that a net neutrality repeal would hurt entire sectors, such as video-based online education.
The rule repeal may address that concern.
“The FCC will make sure providers are being transparent about whether they block, throttle or promote Web content,” The Hill wrote yesterday.
The Hill further stated:
On Thursday, the FCC is expected to approve Chairman Ajit Pai’s proposal to repeal rules that require Internet service providers to treat all Web traffic equally. The measure is expected to pass 3-2, with all the Republican appointees supporting repeal and all the Democratic appointees opposing.
The article says repealing Net Neutrality will speed up the Internet, because “Pai and his Republican allies in Congress say investment in broadband infrastructure has declined since former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler put the net neutrality rules in place in 2015. They warn that drop in investment will slow gains in broadband speeds and raise costs for consumers.”
In a statement the FCC released on Nov. 21 about today’s vote, Pai says (Opens as a PDF):
For almost 20 years, the Internet thrived under the light-touch regulatory approach established by President Clinton and a Republican Congress. This bipartisan framework led the private sector to invest $1.5 trillion building communications networks throughout the United States. And it gave us an Internet economy that became the envy of the world.
But in 2015, the prior FCC bowed to pressure from President Obama. On a party-line vote, it imposed heavy-handed, utility-style regulations upon the Internet. That decision was a mistake. It’s depressed investment in building and expanding broadband networks and deterred innovation.
Still, at least one popular tweet showed consumer concerns. (Please note the Twitter handle and the fact that the avatar is a primate when noting the tweet's assertions.)
Netflix: $9.99/per movie
Google: $1.99/per search
If you don't want to pay extra for your favorite sites you need to be supporting #NetNeutrality
— banksy (@thereaIbanksy) December 13, 2017
What do you think, marketers?
Please respond in the comments section below.
Related story: Why Net Neutrality Is a Marketing Issue