Communication Professor calls FCC Decision on Net Neutrality a victory for innovation
The Federal Communications Commission’s decision Thursday to impose strict new regulations on Internet service providers like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T will encourage new ideas according to Trevor Roycroft, associate professor in the J. Warren McClure School of Information and Telecommunication Systems of the Scripps College of Communication.
“For people who want to start out and innovate and have a great idea that they want to take out on the Internet it’s a great day for them,” Roycroft said. “They’ll be able to let the market decide whether their ideas are good or not and not have some company like Comcast or AT&T tell them that they can’t run their application.”
The regulatory agency voted 3-2 Thursday in favor of rules aimed at enforcing what’s called “net neutrality.” That’s the idea that service providers shouldn’t intentionally block or slow web traffic, creating paid fast lanes on the Internet.
The new rules say that any company providing a broadband connection to your home or phone would have to act in the public interest and conduct business in ways that are “just and reasonable.”
Much of industry opposes the regulations, which it says constitutes dangerous government overreach. The rules are expected to trigger lawsuits, which could drag out for several years. Roycroft said the appeals process will cause some uncertainty as the process unfolds.
Appeals Process to Cause Uncertainty
“That will in part depend on what appeals courts do,” he said. “They may suspend the rules and if they suspend the rules we’re going to be in a situation where there’s no protection for open internet; if they allow the rules to stand we’ll have the rules in place while they fight it out in the courts.”
Roycroft said a second ruling Thursday prohibiting state legislatures from blocking municipalities from building their own broadband systems was also noteworthy. While Ohio is not a central player in such fights he said industry lobbyists have moved other states to keep cities and towns from competing with commercial broadband operations. He said where municipalities have even threatened such competition, commercial operators quickly improve their service.