Net neutrality is the idea that Internet service providers (ISPs) like telephone and cable companies should not discriminate or charge differently for types of data, users, or attached equipment. It is the Internet we now know.
In the U.S. this principle has set the stage for a fierce battle between ISPs and growing businesses, small startups, non-profits, and good old users.[*] The ISPs want to charge different customers different prices to send content over their networks. This would create slow and fast lanes on the Internet. Many on the other side say that biases would undermine the Internet’s promotion of commerce and protection of freedoms.
In June 2016 an appeals court found in favor of the enforceability of the FCC rules in support of net neutrality. But the ISPs are looking toward the Supreme Court and Congress for relief. The current White House has stood up for net neutrality. So its future is anyone’s guess.
The same type of battle is taking place elsewhere. In the EU a group of telephone companies has expressed opposition to some net neutrality regulations. In Chile, the Netherlands, and Slovenia net neutrality is now law.
In my view, for Kaltura the maintenance of net neutrality is likely a plus. The transmission of video across the network can be data intensive. Many of our clients are not major players who can afford to overcome the roadblocks that may be erected without net neutrality.
On the other hand, many of our clients are ISPs who are incredibly innovative. The ability to create special services on the network may increase the demand for high quality video.
For now we’ll do what we do: power any video experience, over any network, with a commitment to our core values.
[*] In 2009-11 I was Special Counsel at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.