In This Incoherent Part of the Trump World, Rules Be Damned

As so it is that the FCC will vote and the lawsuits will be filed.  Lots and lots of lawsuits.  But what might ISPs actually do?  Not much, they say.  The “they” are the big four: AT&T, Charter, Comcast and Verizon.   They have gone on the record extolling the virtues of a net-neutrality wipeout (with some justification, I should add, given the free ride that FANG has been getting).  I’m also certain you can count on the next two biggest (Altice and Cox) to chime in.

Under the rules as currently envisioned, however, the connection companies could do damn near anything by openly publishing their own new rules.  Such rules could block or throttle whomever won’t pay.  That might not go over so bigly, though.

Additionally, there could be slow lanes and fast lanes.  Although, to be clear, there are work-arounds already such as Layer 3 TV’s use of non-open broadband transmission infrastructure coupled and last mile connections (think Layer 3 plus cable connections).

There’s much more to this story than net neutrality.  It is really setting up the coming commercial collision of two giant collections of enterprises: the connectors versus the edge players.  It will be the ISPs against the tech giants.  To be clear, a lot of programmers will be uncertain about what to do next … for example, will OTT challengers get a new bill?

Meanwhile, the tech giants will be facing another challenge: regulations! First from European regulators.  Then from American.  You can see the momentum growing everyday in the headlinesThe Economist even has a word for it: “techlash.”

As Dan Primack, referencing the DoJ suit, puts it in Axios’ ProRata, this is a “BFD:  Because big tech companies like Facebook, Netflix and Google -- which provide both media content and distribution at a scale that dwarfs a merged ATT/TW -- should be absolutely petrified.  DoJ may officially be suing a legacy telco, but its complaint is doubling as a Trojan Horse at the gates of Silicon Valley.”

Random Notes

Things just get more and more confusing, especially when thinking about what you might want to watch on whatever device is at hand or on the wall.  Well, give a hand to recode.  They've got a nice chart about what channel is on which OTT service.  It includes an up-to-date mix of services even including the just-launched Philo.

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The opinions and points of view expressed in this content are exclusively the views of the author and/or subject(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of, Inc. management or associated writers.



Paul S. Maxwell

In a 50-plus year career writing and reporting on media, Paul S. Maxwell started and/or ran some 45+ publications ranging from CATV Newsweekly to Colorado Magazine to CableVision to Multichannel News to CableFAX and The BRIDGE Suite of daily newslett... read more