The Internet is a great resource used for everything from conducting businesses and people to being a place where many get their entertainment. It has literally become a facet of our daily lives, and as network speeds improve, we have begun to get more and more uses out of the Internet.
For Sirius XM investors it is an issue that carries particular interest with the Internet radio facet of their business. Central to the issue is the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington which made a decision in April that states that the FCC does not have seem to have the authority to have oversight of broadband, and by extension may not have the power to enforce "Network Neutrality" that bars broadband services from controlling what information flows through their networks.
This issue pits the owners of broadband networks against the services that do business on them. This is not only about music services such as Pandora, but also services such as Google, Amazon, and any company that maintains a presence on the Internet. Music and video centered services seem to take the limelight because their services are data intensive, and put a lot of demand on the systems.
The FCC will be voting today to set forth three proposed paths for dealing with the regulation of broadband. The FCC Chairman, Julius Genachowski has a proposal of his own that would define broadband access as a "telecommunications service subject to "common carrier" obligations" and by applying such a definition, all broadband traffic would be treated equally. This proposal would give the FCC power over the system.
The issue is still being hotly debated, and as with any issue there are two sides to the story. On one hand are the communications company's and their networks which have limited resources and a finite capability. On the other stands companies like Google, Pandora, or any business that uses the net to reach consumers. This would include Sirius XM Internet Radio.
The thought of the FCC controlling this may make some people very nervous, but in light of recent developments such as AT&T no longer offering unlimited data on cell phones, you may instead want the FCC involved. This battle is far from over. Politicians, agencies, companies, and even consumers will be able to get their two cents worth in.
Those that follow satellite radio and hope that limiting data is a good thing for Sirius XM need to really stop and think about the overall ramifications of what could happen if the Internet (cell and land line based) became like an electric meter, and you were charged by the volume of content you use. That movie you streamed from Netflix could be more costly than you think. Even concepts such as Cloud Computing, which stores things for you on servers for access from anywhere, would have to revamp their business models.
FCC Set To Reconsider Broadband Regulations