In case you thought net neutrality died when Ajit Pai, head of the American Federal Communications Commission (FCC) drove his garlic spike into the heart of the free internet, guess again.
Maybe net neutrality is not quite dead
This Friday, supporters and opponents of net neutrality will be in the Washington DC Court of Appeals to explain their case regarding the FCC’s ending of the policy in late 2017. The three-judge panel could reach a decision by summer – and the outcome is up in the air. It could uphold the FCC’s authority, cause a full reversal of Ajit’s previous order, or thread the needle with something in between. You can bet that court watchers will be hanging on every word of the proceedings.
In a nutshell, net neutrality means data is data. In the USA, this policy has kept internet service providers (ISPs) from discriminating against data from specific apps or platforms and requires them to treat all web traffic equally. Its removal has reportedly enabled telecoms such as Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile to slow down internet traffic from apps like Netflix, Skype, and YouTube and potentially charge websites for enabling faster speeds.
United states of confusion
Unhappy with the earlier FCC action, several states such as California and Montana have passed their own measures protecting net neutrality. California has also passed its own security regulations. This has kicked up a turf war over what agency or organization has the authority to regulate the internet. California’s enforcement of their new law is on hold as the DC court comes to its decision.
Streaming towards the 5G onramp
Questions over how various data streams can be treated are critical for how internet services are used, marketed, and priced. Data issues will be even more important with the fast-arriving rollout of the new 5G networks. These next-generation networks are expected to exponentially increase the amount of data transmitted and support the faster implementation of IoT devices in smart homes and industry.