Broadcast Beat Magazine 2018 NAB Show Edition - Page 32

What ISPs Can Learn from Wireless Carriers Following Net Neutrality Roll-Back By Peter M. Cunningham, Technology, Media & Telecommunications Practice Lead, J.D. Power Last month, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), led by President Trump- appointed Chairman Ajit Pai, rolled back Net Neutrality, essentially putting more power in the hands of internet service providers (ISPs) over what content consumers can access and at what speed they can access it. free and open internet. Comcast’s head of gov- ernment affairs stated in a recent blog post, “… we will not block, throttle, or discriminate against lawful content on the Internet; we will be fully transparent with respect to our practices; and we have not entered into any paid prioritization arrangements, and we have no plans to do so.” Commissioner Pai believes the loosening of regu- lations will stimulate investment by internet ser- vice providers, increase competition and provide more choice to consumers. Right now, 25% of internet customers surveyed by J.D. Power say they chose their existin g internet provider because “it was the only choice available.” That’s a figure Chairman Pai believes will improve under free-market principles. The position of Comcast, and others like them, is that the vehicle used for implementation of Net Neutrality was too burdensome. In a separate blog post, Comcast stated: “Unfortunately, the FCC relied on an antiquated source of authority dating to the Roosevelt Administration – Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. Common carrier regulations may have made sense in a monopoly public utility telephone era; they make no sense applied to the most dynamic and cut- ting edge technology of our generation.” But it also introduces a potentially dangerous recipe for ISP customer satisfaction if custom- ers believe they are having their internet speeds throttled based on the type of content they are consuming or being pushed into fast or slow- lanes of internet traffic based on how much they are paying per month. Getting the customer sat- isfaction formula right at this pivotal moment will be critical for ISPs. Many large internet providers have already start- ed to address the issue by pledging to maintain a 32 • Broadcast Beat Magazine • Large ISPs have indicat- ed they’re open to leg- islation and subsequent regulation, but done out- side the confines of Title II. A key issue for these