Mays Business School, December 15th, 2017
By Venkatesh Shankar
The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) voted 3-2 on Dec. 14 to overturn the net neutrality rule that was put in place in 2015 by the then FCC. What does it mean for different stakeholders, including consumers, companies, and communities?
The net neutrality rule required common carriers or broadband providers or Internet service providers (ISPs) (e.g., Comcast, Verizon, Charter, AT&T) to treat all data on the Internet equally and not discriminate or price differentially by user, content, website, app, device, platform, or communication mode.
What are the pros of net neutrality? In principle, net neutrality is egalitarian. Since the Internet is a public information network, it should be viewed as a public utility, much like electricity and water. Net neutrality treats all content and data equally, whether they are from a big firm like Netflix or Google or a start-up firm. It also prevents ISPs from blocking or throttling (slowing down) data, or price discriminating against Internet users. Without net neutrality, ISPs may be emboldened to raise prices on certain consumers and firms and shut out competitive services.