The FCC issued its much-awaited ruling on net neutrality Thursday, declaring that broadband providers like Comcast and Verizon have to treat all internet users the same. What does this decision mean for content providers like Netflix?
As of 3 a.m. Friday, season three of “House of Cards” was available for streaming, all 13 hours of it, ready for weekend binge watching. But should that video start to shudder or buffer, it can be tough for consumers to know why.
“What the FCC is doing is saying for the very first time, ‘We’re going to be looking hard’ at what broadband providers are doing to squeeze the connection between their own networks and outside networks,” says Susan Crawford, co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard.
In other words: “There’s a cop on the beat now.”
Crawford views this increased regulation as a win for consumers, but Richard Bennett, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, thinks if the FCC’s reporting requirements are too burdensome, it could slow the rate at which internet service providers are able to grow their networks.