Last week, Verizon confirmed that AOL & Yahoo would be merged under a new umbrella brand called Oath. The general expectation is that combining the two will help Verizon scale its ad tech opportunity by better connecting advertisers with content across these platforms – which themselves already include many disparate sub-brands acquired through past acquisitions and mergers.
It’s no surprise that we’re very interested in how our current administration is impacting topics like Net Neutrality and Internet Privacy. When Ajit Pai was appointed to be FCC chairman a couple months ago, we encouraged everyone to stay informed and keep an eye out for new issues. Well, this week the House voted to undo rules which prevented Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from selling user data to the highest bidder, just the latest roll back of protections that had been put in place by former President Obama. Although President Trump has not yet signed the roll back into effect, the White House has suggested that he will and the implications for Internet privacy concerns are pretty significant. (Update – As expected, President Trump did sign the bill in question on April 3rd, 2017, to repeal online privacy protections established under the previous administration.)
Back in December we began wondering about what a Donald Trump presidency would mean for Net Neutrality. Well, after the inauguration it took just a couple of days for the rubber to begin accosting the proverbial road. Last week President Trump announced the appointment of Ajit Pai as our new Federal Communications Commission Chairman, and he nestles in snugly with the anti-regulation/roll-it-back swagger of the new administration. Also, as a currently seated Republican FCC commissioner, he does not even need Senate approval to ascend to the Chairman’s role. (BUT: Due to the time left in his current commissioner term, Pai will have to be renominated and reconfirmed sometime this year.)
If you’ve followed this blog, you know that we are avid proponents of Net neutrality. While the Obama administration has been generally friendly to keeping Net traffic free and open – all those moving bits and bytes being treated equally by carriers – the winds of change may be blowing colder with the incoming Trump administration. It’s time for interested parties – and that is all of us who use the Internet, every day – to begin watching the positions and policies of the President-elect and his team. Below are links to a few recent pieces of solid journalism to help bring you up to speed on the potential fight(s) ahead:
For the moment, legislation around Net Neutrality carries the day. Yesterday a federal appeals court upheld the notion that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) cannot discriminate and allow some Internet traffic into a “fast lane,” meanwhile relegating all other traffic to a “slow lane.”
An upheaval of sorts may be underway in a classic revolutionary setting. This Friday in Boston – hot bed of the American Revolution – newcomer Starry is set to roll out its broadband wireless Internet service, Starry Internet. You know that Comcast and the rest of the big wired-broadband ISPs are going to be watching closely.