Thursday, April 08, 2010
The US Federal Court's ruling against the FCC over control of the internet exposed two colliding assumptions about the internet that will become a PR battle for the next year or so. The first assumption is that the internet is a utility to be used by all in any way they wish to employ it. This is similar to the electrical plug in your house. You don't think about the wall socket and electricity it brings. You plug the vacuum, food processor or TV into it and it works with standard power at standard cycles. The second assumption is that delivery of the internet is the property of companies that have built the cables and connected homes. Each company can decide how and how much to provide in speed and capacity. The government favors the first assumption. Internet providers favor the second. It is too early to know who will win but given the make-up of Congress, the leaning is toward Net Neutrality and a utility. No matter which idea wins, there will be full employment for many PR and public affairs practitioners until it is finally decided. It will be an interesting battle to watch.