The FCC Repeals Net Neutrality

Executive Summary:

  • The FCC voted to repeal net neutrality rulings
  • Additional steps are required to solidify the repeal but overturning the ruling seems unlikely

What it Means:

  • MVPD owned content distribution services (DirecTV Now, Go90, et al.) have a leg up
  • Improved broadband infrastructure could come sooner
  • The increased cost of doing business for small to medium-sized content distributors could make their businesses unsustainable


THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS Commission voted Thursday to dismantle its net neutrality regulations.


We’ve been tuned into this for weeks and the repeal is not a surprise. Here’s a quick and dirty summary of the arguments from the pro and against groups:

  • Pro Net Neutrality Repeal: Without being able to offer tiered quality services (i.e., charge more for faster content delivery speed), broadband providers lack the incentive to improve infrastructure, which would benefit all.
  • Against Net Neutrality Repeal: All internet content should be accessible to all internet users, at the same speed. Broadband providers should not able to block or give preferential treatment to specific content providers

(forgive the double negatives. i’m not quite comfortable saying pro-repeal is anti-net neutrality)

What Happens Next:

1. The repeal will go to the courts where advocacy groups will challenge the decision
2. FCC officials can still change their mind
3. Congress could overturn the repeal but only unanimously – the House, Senate and president would all need to agree to overturn the repeal (i.e. keep current net neutrality rulings in place)

What This Means for Media Companies:

I’m speculating but if net neutrality rulings are ultimately repealed, the following seems likely:

  • Broadband providers will prioritize their services: DirecTV Now, Go90, et al.
    • If you believe delivery speed is critical to the success of these businesses,  you could infer that the repeal of net neutrality could improve the likelihood of these services’ success
  • Improved broadband infrastructure (i.e. 5G) could become more real, sooner
    • Faster internet for all could make video content more accessible and open the doors to the next wave of very data-heavy technology
  • Higher barrier to entry for content distributors
    • Further consolidation among small to medium-sized content distributors at depressed valuations could make sense


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