The Federal Communications Commission's June 2015 net neutrality rules that ban Internet providers from selectively blocking or slowing websites, or charging more for faster relaying, are about to change.
On Dec. 14, the five-member FCC board, consisting of three Republicans, two Democrats, and chaired by Trump appointee Ajit Pai, is expected to vote along party lines to roll back the Obama-era rules.
Repealing net neutrality under the banner of deregulation clears a fresh path for Internet access providers to make money in new ways.
Ultimately, that means making money from consumers. But luckily, there's a way for us consumers to make some money too.
Here's where net neutrality is going and how you can profit alongside the companies who will be major beneficiaries…
The End Is Nigh
New FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a former associate general counsel at Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), has made rolling back net neutrality regulations a "priority," citing claims that it has "stifled innovation" and epitomizes "government overreach."
The FCC vote is ancient history, and new rules will take effect in early 2018. But… not everyone's taking this lying down. Legal briefs challenging the U-turn are already being prepared.
According to Blake Reid, a clinical professor at Colorado Law, broadband providers will likely wait to see how legal challenges to new FCC orders go. "They'll probably keep an eye on 2018 and even 2020 elections as well. The courts could shoot down the FCC's order, or, given enough public pressure, Congress even could pass new net neutrality laws," Reid says.
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In the meantime, Internet access providers don't have to wait for legal challenges to whatever new rules will be enacted, and probably won't.
Besides, they've already gotten around some of those rules (legally, of course).
For example, Verizon tries to drive users to their own apps by exempting them from mobile data limits. The same goes for AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) customers when they access the AT&T DirecTV Now video-streaming service, and T-Mobile U.S. Inc. (Nasdaq: TMUS) allows multiple video and music streaming services to bypass its data limits.
Steering consumers to company-owned content by packaging them in data plans has become an acceptable sidestep of net neutrality rules.
Proposed new rules let Internet service providers freely block content, slow video-streaming services from rivals, and offer "fast lanes" to preferred partners, giving them an exponentially greater level of control of channels, cost of access, and speed of content across the Internet.
In the future (which could be as soon as next year), Internet services could mimic cable-TV packages. Subscription packages could be limited to certain sites and services. Of course, for a few dollars more, subscribers will be able to add to their menu items – and, for another fistful of dollars, maybe have unlimited access to everything at the speed of… whatever you're willing to pay for.
Net neutrality advocates adamantly maintain that directed offerings by access providers harm competition, especially smaller providers trying to offer competing access services and content, and app providers who are easily disadvantaged. Most of all, they maintain that it will harm consumers, whose choices drift further from their control.
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About the Author
Shah Gilani is the Event Trading Specialist for Money Map Press. In Zenith Trading Circle Shah reveals the worst companies in the markets - right from his coveted Bankruptcy Almanac - and how readers can trade them over and over again for huge gains. He also writes our most talked-about publication, Wall Street Insights & Indictments, where he reveals how Wall Street's high-stakes game is really played.