By Carl Howe
According to a late article in the Wall Street Journal, the Federal Communications Commission plans to regulate Internet operators to ensure network neutrality. An announcement is expected Thursday.
Yankee Group has predicted for the last five years that IP networks, both wired and wireless, will create the largest technology transformation of our lifetimes, the Anywhere revolution of ubiquitous connectivity. What this regulatory move says is that the FCC intends to both define rules for and enforcement of a level playing field in the battle for Anywhere.
After 30 years of deregulation in U.S. markets, many telecommunications businesses will probably find these regulatory approaches distasteful. Yet, after seeing catastrophes in housing and banking in the last decade, hands-off regulatory approaches to handle the largest technology change in our lifetimes looks equally negligent.
For me, the only open question is what balance will be struck. Last time I looked, The U.S. was ranked anywhere from 19th to 21st in the world in terms of Internet speeds and costs. What the FCC announcement says to me is that it intends to enforce fair competition for tomorrow’s Anywhere economy; after all, when you’re behind most of the developed world, doing nothing and hoping for the best just isn’t a viable option.