President Trump has talked about rolling back Obama-era net neutrality rules since the campaign. This would be an enormous victory for Internet service providers, many of which are also cable companies.
The purpose of net neutrality regulations was to keep the Internet open. What this means is that, under no net neutrality, cable companies are free to slow down service to whatever they want. Suppose you have Time Warner Cable. If you are like me, you realize that the service is terrible and probably overpriced. As a rational consumer, you would like to purchase a Netflix or Hulu account. Time Warner can now slow down your streaming service in order to keep you from using it.
This would be a huge victory for an industry that hasn’t had a lot to cheer for recently. As consumers are continuing to forego their cable packages in favor of more affordable options, cable companies have been clamoring for ways to retain more users. This would certainly help that cause.
Verizon has been one of the companies that have felt the sting of “cord-cutters.” To help make up for this, the company has been securing streaming rights with several television networks in order to pitch a nationwide launch of a live TV Internet service. Unlike regular cable packages that often have potentially hundreds of channels that users don’t want, the Internet service would be far more flexible in terms of being able to pick what you get.
This would be a potential game changer in the industry, especially if net neutrality rules are rolled back. Since Verizon already has a large consumer base using their home Internet service, this is an opportunity for the firm to capitalize. Besides the fact that Verizon’s service will have live TV, as opposed to just movies and television shows, they will now have the ability to slow down future competitors such as Netflix.
It will be interesting to see how live TV internet services play out in the future, regardless of what happens with net neutrality laws. Even to someone like me who has always valued the ability to watch live TV, as cable packages get more expensive and the service almost seems to get worse, switching to services like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon are beginning to seem like “no-brainers.”