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Weekly News Digest

November 28, 2017 — In addition to this week's NewsBreaks article and the monthly NewsLink Spotlight, Information Today, Inc. (ITI) offers Weekly News Digests that feature recent product news and company announcements. Watch for additional coverage to appear in the next print issue of Information Today. For other up-to-the-minute news, check out ITIís Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.

CLICK HERE to view more Weekly News Digest items.

Net Neutrality as a Market, Not Government, Regulation

The Washington Examiner’s Opinion section has an article about Net Neutrality that states the following:

Net neutrality’s dubious value is made obvious by the misleading way Democrats and many news outlets reported the decision. ‘F.C.C. plans net neutrality repeal in a victory for telecoms,’ wrote the New York Times. Missing from the headline or lede was that the decision was a loss for Netflix, Amazon, Google, and other corporate giants that [provide] content. …

Net neutrality is, generally, good in principle, for it lays down the law that the networks over which we get information should not discriminate between one type of information and another. For example, it would be wrong if AT&T prevented its Internet customers from searching for prices charged by other cellphone providers. You wouldn’t want Comcast blocking access to articles complaining about its customer service.

But a general principle of that sort is often best not codified in a written regulation.

One reason is that the market will take care of wrongdoers. Comcast would lose Internet customers if, for example, it only allowed those customers to see MSNBC (Comcast’s sister company) for news.

Net neutrality regulation also effectively outlaws competing business models, which are good for customers and the economy as a whole. Competing business models allow experimentation, and this leads to providers serving customers better by meeting their needs more precisely. …

Why is it better for the federal government rather than customers to decide how networks should handle data?

For more information, read the article.

ALA Pledges Support for Net Neutrality

Jim Neal, current ALA president, released a statement on the proposed Net Neutrality order by Ajit Pai, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman. The FCC plans to vote on the order on Dec. 14. Neal said the following:

Preserving net neutrality is essential for equitable access to online information and services and thus a vital concern for our nation’s libraries. Now that the internet has become the primary mechanism for delivering information, services and applications to the general public, it is especially important that commercial Internet Service Providers are not able to control or manipulate the content of these communications. Libraries, our patrons and America’s communities will be at risk if the FCC repeals all protections contained in its 2015 Open Internet Order with no plans to replace [them] with any enforceable rules. We strenuously disagree with the FCC’s actions and will continue to advocate for essential net neutrality protections.

For more information, read the press release.

Net Neutrality: Good for Consumers?

Roslyn Layton writes the following in InsideSources:

Netroots activists and the liberal media have played loose with the facts and misled the public on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) agenda all year long. …  Even before the FCC officially released the [Net Neutrality] item, these same left-leaning skeptics have portended doom. But many of their egregious statements can’t withstand the truth test. It’s time to take a hard look at the facts. …

Removing the antiquated regulation from the innovative internet ecosystem will allow the emergence of flexible pricing, so that consumers have choices in how they enjoy content, whether for free, sponsored by providers, or paid outright. The largest content providers will no longer get government-guaranteed free rides on networks. This likely means that consumers will enjoy lower-priced, more tailored, and higher-value subscriptions. …

[B]ecause of the competitive nature of [the] mobile marketplace these days, mobile broadband and internet service providers will not slow content in the future because it puts their customer base at risk if they don’t provide the best service possible.

For more information, read the article.

Internet Companies Weigh In on Net Neutrality

BBC News’ Technology division gathered the following statements on Net Neutrality from stakeholder companies:

The principle that all internet traffic should be treated equally was enshrined in US law in 2015.

But telecom companies complained an overly regulated net stifled innovation, particularly their ability to roll out broadband services. …

Facebook said: ‘We are disappointed that the proposal announced this week by the FCC fails to maintain the strong net neutrality protections that will ensure the internet remains open for everyone. …’

In its statement, Google said the current rules ‘are working well’.

Meanwhile, content giant Netflix tweeted: ‘This current draft order hasn’t been officially voted, so we’re lodging our opposition publicly and loudly now.’ …

In a blog post, ComCast’s chief diversity officer wrote: ‘Comcast has already made net neutrality promises to our customers, and we will continue to follow those standards, regardless of the regulations in place.’

For more information, read the article.

Net Neutrality Rollback: A Gift to ISPs?

Steven Salzberg writes in Forbes that Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Ajit Pai’s Net Neutrality elimination plan “is a bigger gift to Verizon than anything he’s ever done before.”

He continues:

Without net neutrality, Internet service providers will be able to charge web companies for ‘fast lanes,’ which they can’t do now. Smaller online video or videogame providers could be relegated to the slow lane. The biggest service providers (Netflix, Google, Amazon, and others) may have to cough up extra money, but the consumers won’t see any of that—all the benefits will go to the ISPs. Consumers could see their rates go up.

Higher fees for lousier service. Does this sound familiar? That’s how cable companies have operated for years.

Not surprisingly, virtually everyone hates this idea except the cable companies themselves. The telecommunications industry, though, is very excited about the prospect of all the money they’re going to make. …

[Y]our Internet service provider (ISP) will be allowed to bundle websites just like they bundle television channels. Of course, ISPs claim they will do no such thing, but why should we trust them? Some experts say it’s unlikely that they would risk antagonizing consumers, but more likely is a shift toward plans where content providers favored by the ISP are given preferential treatment.

If net neutrality goes away, no longer will anyone be able to set up a website and turn it into a thriving business by offering popular content. They’ll first need to raise money to pay the ISPs, or else face being relegated to the slow lane.

For more information, read the article.

Send correspondence concerning the Weekly News Digest to NewsBreaks Editor Brandi Scardilli
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