Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai is expected to release the new net neutrality guidelines on November 14 for the U.S.
The North American wireless industry is already divided on the proposed net neutrality guidelines that can enhance investments in Internet networks. Ajit Pai with the full support of US president Donald Trump wants to ensure more choice and quality for Internet users and more investment from broadband operators.
The nation is also facing protest from Internet supporters.
Content companies such as Netflix, Facebook, YouTube and Amazon will be looking for the finer details of net neutrality guidelines. They would like to tap the networks of Verizon or AT&T or T-Mobile to power their videos to mobile Internet users with a special price with an enhanced speed. Small firms feel that such practices are not part of an open Internet culture.
The current administration feels that the earlier FCC voted in favor of a new Internet regime with the open support of US President Barack Obama.
“For almost twenty years, the Internet thrived under the light-touch regulatory approach established by President Clinton and a Republican Congress. This bipartisan framework led the private sector to invest $1.5 trillion building communications networks throughout the United States,” Ajit Pai said in a statement earlier.
The current FCC wants to remove the heavy-handed, utility-style regulations on the Internet. Ajit Pai says the earlier decision has depressed investment in building and expanding broadband networks and deterred innovation.
FCC will stop micromanaging the Internet under the new net neutrality guideline. FCC will ask Internet service providers (ISPs) to become more transparent about their data practices. This will enable data consumers to buy suitable service plan. Entrepreneurs and other small businesses will have technical information to innovate.
“Additionally, as a result of my proposal, the Federal Trade Commission will once again be able to police ISPs, protect consumers, and promote competition, just as it did before 2015. My proposal will put the federal government’s most experienced privacy cop, the FTC, back on the beat to protect consumers’ online privacy,” Ajit Pai said.
Net neutrality supporters argue that the proposed removal of net neutrality protections would be a death knell for an open and innovative internet ecosystem. The other side feels that the repeal will enhance investment broadband infrastructure.
There are no studies that can point out that net neutrality regulation since 2015 have inhibited investment in broadband infrastructure, by limiting returns on investment. But telecom operators such as Verizon and AT&T warned that the 2015 net neutrality norms had impacted their Capex plans.
According to the IHS Markit report, broadband in the United States is available in 9.1 million of the 11.2 million census blocks. However, 38 percent of census blocks with a broadband provider rely on just one provider with reasonable speeds of service, and 10 percent have speeds that don’t reach advertised speeds of 10 Mbps.
IHS Markit said the transition period may be difficult for data consumers, as what are effectively local monopolies will be able to take advantage of their new freedoms to limit access to services or implement discrete fees for third-party services.
The cable TV average revenue per user (ARPU) in the US is $80. For comparison, cable TV in Western Europe generates an ARPU of $19.49 per month.
Revenue for pay TV services is highly threatened by the lower-cost over-the-top (OTT) television providers, which are rapidly gaining new subscribers and enabling cord cutting from traditional service providers.
“Despite the current strong net neutrality provisions, the mobile industry has tested the boundaries of what can be accounted for as network management,” said Seth Wallis-Jones, principal analyst, IHS Markit.
“Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC is deeply concerned that the FCC proposal does not include net neutrality protections or address the digital divide that exists for the Asian American community,” said John C Yang, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, earlier.
The Internet Innovation Alliance (IIA) has welcomed the FCC for proposing to accelerate investment and deployment of 21st century broadband services.
“Returning to the classification of broadband internet as an information service will again encourage new investment and innovation. This investment will help transition to 5G capable networks for even faster and more reliable high-speed mobile broadband to consumers and businesses across the country,” IIA founding co-chairman Bruce Mehlman.
According to the earlier statements and clarifications made by Ajit Pai, FCC is ready to go ahead with a new set of net neutrality guidelines.