Net Neutrality Will Apply to Cell NetworksComments Off on Net Neutrality Will Apply to Cell Networks
Net neutrality has been all over the news for the past few months, but just to recap: net neutrality is the idea that traffic on the Internet should be treated with equality so your broadband provider can’t block or slow down your ability to use services, applications, or view websites. This will essentially treat broadband service as a public utility, but it will also extend these rules to wireless service. Vox, an online news outlet, explains, “That represents a significant change from the FCC’s previous network neutrality rules, which were drafted in 2010 and struck down by the courts last year. Those rules focused primarily on home internet access delivered over a physical cable. Wireless networks from providers such as Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and T-Mobile were exempted from most regulations because in the agency’s view it was ‘at an earlier stage in its development than fixed broadband and evolving rapidly.’” Critics believe applying this rule to wireless networks could hinder innovation in the wireless market.
Internet access is delivered over a cable and customers can rely on a stable amount of bandwidth, this isn’t true of wireless networks. You can have a clear connection one minute, and move out of range of one tower, be switched to another that is overloaded with users causing your connection to slow to a snail’s pace. Some companies have been criticized for capping customer usage on certain applications, like Apple’s FaceTime because it could overwhelm the network. However, many argue that this in an important flexibility for wireless carriers to have so they can ensure bandwidth-heavy applications don’t overload the network, limiting access to other customers. The PCIA released the following statement on February 26, “PCIA is deeply concerned about the impact of the Open Internet Order on investment, capital expenditures and the deployment of wireless infrastructure, and we are reviewing it from that perspective. America’s wireless networks are a model for the rest of the world because they were built on innovation, private investment, and a regulatory regime that encourages rapid deployment. PCIA is interested in bipartisan solutions, and is closely following developments in Congress that might yield results that protect an open internet while promoting investments in wireless networks.”