You may have heard that the FCC recently voted 3 – 2, to reclassify the Internet as a telecommunications service under a 1934 law. This would give the federal government very broad powers to regulate potentially every aspect of the Internet by telling ISPs how they may run their companies … though ostensibly the immediate goal is to simply to assure ‘Net Neutrality.’
So what is Net Neutrality? In short, it would prevent an ISP from playing favorites between Internet content providers. For example, let’s say your ISP offers streaming movies as part of their service and objects to competition from … say, Netflix. Net Neutrality would prevent the ISP from blocking Netflix or slowing down the data stream or charging Netflix more money to deliver its content.
Though President Obama strongly supports Net Neutrality, there is a lot of debate on this topic-including whether or not the FCC is tackling a problem that doesn’t exist. The biggest concern is what FCC regulation will mean in the long-run. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has said the new rules will force ISPs to act in the “public interest.” Who will decide what public interest entails? New taxes and fees? Potential censorship? Or perhaps the FCC will keep its promise to regulate with a “light touch.”
For now, SynchroNet customers, like everyone else, can just take a ‘wait and see’ attitude as to what Net Neutrality will mean for their bills and Internet service. Before the FCC can do anything, there will be lawsuits. There may also be bipartisan Congressional action to curtail the FCC’s expansion of government power. Plus, any rule passed by a 3-2 vote can be undone by another 3-2 vote under a new presidential administration.