Kelly Scott Madison

Net Neutrality: A New Era of Internet Regulation?

06/22/2015

 

Government entities and the private sector have been duking it out for control of the internet. Find out what the latest moves mean for marketers...

After years of speculation and anticipation, it has finally arrived. The government’s latest efforts to regulate a piece of the internet pie have been successful as internet service providers (ISPs) were officially reclassified from “information service” providers to “communications service” providers. This means that ISPs will now be controlled under Title II of the Communications Act, which was created in 1934 in order to provide regulated common carrier access to universally-used utilities such as landline telephone service. These developments should continue to be closely monitored by marketers as they have large implications fo rthe cost of doing business online.

Why Was the Internet Reclassified and Regulated?

Governmental and consumer advocate concerns arose from recent, very public disputes over internet speeds and traffic overloads. The most public argument occurred between Comcast and Netflix when Comcast argued that their trafficlanes into customers’ homes (also known as the “last mile”) could not handle the massive data overloads caused by Netflix streaming. They pushed for Netflix to pay special paid-prioritization fees in order for Comcast to improve their infrastructure and accommodate U.S. consumers’ emerging love for all things video.

Since video requires exponentially more data be delivered at exponentially higher speeds than an average website, document, or email, the infrastructure of the internet needs to catch up with demand. Netflix is also universally understood to be the primary cause of year-over-year bandwidth usage increases in the U.S. Their single site currently accounts for 35 percent of all downstream peak period usage, beating out...


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