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Net neutrality battle lines drawn as FCC vote draws

FCC President Ajit Pai's long-term plan to abrogate neutrality of the net. The expected vote of the commission on December 14 could result in a complete rewrite of the scenario for the competitive Internet landscape and consumer protection models.

The repeal of net neutrality would put an end to the restrictions imposed by the Obama administration in 2015, which viewed the Internet as a heavily regulated public service by the government and prevented providers from slowing down and slowing down. impose other restrictions on certain suppliers.

Wet innovation?

The Internet was working very well before net neutrality, but restrictions have created barriers to innovation and investment, argued Pai and other free market advocates.

The cost of building a network and investing in new technologies would be prohibitively expensive without the ability to generate profits, according to critics of Net Neutrality.

AT & T has always worked openly and transparently, and will continue to do so, Premier Bob Quinn wrote in a recent online article.

Reinstating pre-Net neutrality regulation with a lighter touch will spur new innovation from suppliers and bring huge benefits to consumers, he added.

The repeal of net neutrality will make competition from independent content providers impossible and will allow providers to resume the limitation of high-speed access for some customers, advocated the defenders of the neutrality of the Net.

The end of net neutrality could trigger a new wave of consolidation that could leave unprivileged suppliers standing at the altar without a dance partner.

Investment vs competition

The decision to repeal net neutrality is part of an endless debate over the regulation of the Internet, and there are risks and legitimate benefits on both sides, said Jeff Kagan, a independent analyst.

"There are no good or bad angles, just different angles," he told the E-Commerce Times. "One side benefits the consumer and some companies that use the Internet for their business model, they want to use the Net for free and I do not blame them."

On the other hand, the Internet is a "very expensive and fast growing area", and we can not expect companies to invest in this sector and not be able to make their investments profitable, according to the report. Kagan.

Broadband and telecom service providers like Comcast, AT & T, Charter, Verizon and CenturyLink emerged from one side of the debate, against content, search and storage companies Internet line like Google, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon.

Non-operator providers that do not have a distribution pipeline to their customers, such as Netflix or Hulu, would lose unrestricted access without the protection of net neutrality, said Tim Mulligan, senior analyst at
Midia Research.

"The argument in favor of consolidation between operators and media services becomes compelling from a business standpoint," he told the E-Commerce Times, "and the models of the business. business built around unlimited access to digital services will need to be reevaluated. "

The outcry over the potential repeal of net neutrality could deter the FCC from taking immediate action, suggested Craig Settles, broadband consultant.

However, any break will likely be short-lived and will be nothing more than a ceremonial step to let off steam, he told the E-Commerce Times.

"While President Pai is on hiatus, the other thing we will see is a move that will begin in Congress for a legislative" reform "of Net Neutrality," predicted Settles. "True believers in Net Neutrality should fear this more than the FCC, because the incumbents will hijack the … legislative process."

Limited access

For consumers and small competitors in rural America, the possible repeal of net neutrality would create an even more complex set of problems, because of the high cost of investments in last mile infrastructure and therefore of limited competition. the
Institute for Local Self-Sufficiency.

"The neutralization of Net Neutrality further encourages large companies to create toll booths for Internet content and take advantage of it rather than building better networks in rural areas," he said. at the E-Commerce Times. "Change is a big problem, rewarding larger companies at the expense of smaller companies that have less power in the market."

A repeal of net neutrality could lead to further consolidation, Mitchell said, which would make competition from small ISPs against incumbent operators even more difficult – which would mean even less investment in high-speed rural infrastructure.


David Jones is a freelance writer based in Essex County, New Jersey. He wrote for Reuters, Bloomberg, New York Crain Affairs and The New York Times .

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