Net neutrality is a hot-button issue, pitting consumers and content providers against the telecommunications com- panies that deliver broadband data. While that conflict
has driven the news coverage, there is another set of stakeholders who may benefit from prioritizing certain data streams: makers of Internet of Things devices and their customers.
The net neutrality debate today is mostly around video, which
dominates internet bandwidth. A broad set of rules established
in 2015 discouraged internet service providers from blocking or
slowing down internet speeds from selected content. The fear
was that service providers would favor content providers with
whom they have a financial interest or penalize those with whom
they have a commercial or ideological conflict.
Those rules were recently repealed by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. Opponents of net neutrality argue the
internet should not be regulated as it will stall innovation and
investment in next-generation technologies.
“Wearables, delivery drones, and driverless cars are among the
‘killer apps’ that require a lot of real-time data and would benefit
from preferential treatment in areas with strained network capacity,” the consulting firm PwC wrote in a research report.
Given the ability to prioritize data traffic, for instance, broad-
band providers could build services around security, artificial in-
telligence, or specialized Io T functions such as tracking services.
Manufacturers are increasingly connected to the internet, and
a robust telecom infrastructure is a must to keep factories up
to date, said Robyn Boerstling, vice president of infrastructure,
innovation, and human resources policy of National Association
of Manufacturers. Instead of growing, the broadband providers’ capital expenditure declined to $76 billion in 2016 from the
GETTING THE INTERNET