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FCC Chairman on Net Neutrality

During the January 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler, spoke on the subject of net neutrality and the upcoming vote on new rules for Internet Service Providers (ISPs). After hearing comments and receiving a barrage of email from individuals, groups and businesses about net neutrality, Wheeler is seeking to garner support for rules that would regulate ISPs in much the same way as public utilities are regulated.

Wheeler said during a speech at CES: “We’re going to propose rules that say no throttling (of Internet traffic), no blocking, no paid prioritization.” This pretty much sets the stage for new landscape on the horizon regarding how users will receive and pay for Internet service.

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued a ruling in January of 2014 that invalidated the existing net neutrality rules, setting the stage for the upcoming vote in February 2015. President Obama weighed in and declared that he would like to see ISPs regulated in much the same way as public utilities. This same stance is taken by many groups and individuals as they feel it will create a more equitable playing field for every user. Many ISPs, however, resist any kind of regulation saying that it will hinder their infrastructure growth and throttle their profits.

As a small business owner engaged in Internet centric commerce, I would like to see a level playing field that does not discriminate based on size, scope or money. While I believe that businesses must be free to generate a profit in order to thrive, we must also be willing to work within a framework that facilitates a win-win environment for all users from the smallest footprint to the largest.

Stay tuned….. This vote is something we will have to live with for a long time to come. Hopefully it will be well thought out and equitable for all.