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Killing the net neutrality rules might impact the taste of your beer


Killing the net neutrality rules might impact the taste of your beer

WATCH | Does the “government control of the internet” hang “like a black cloud” over today's internet businesses? Depends on whom you ask.

FCC chairman Ajit Pai last week announced his plan to reverse the net neutrality rules put in place in 2015. The guidelines were enacted, in part, to prevent internet providers from disrupting or favoring access to content of its choosing, but Pai said companies are unable to innovate under the regulations.

We spoke to some companies, however, who disagree with Pai.

"We don’t see any advantages to creating the opportunity for ISPs and companies to create fast lanes and give certain platforms priority over other platforms," Livestream CEO Jesse Hertzberg told Circa.

Livestream, a hardware and software service that helps companies produce live video, is one of over 800 companies that signed a letter to Pai last Wednesday to express deep concern over his “intention to undo the existing [net neutrality] legal framework.”

Jesse Hertzberg

Jesse Hertzberg, CEO of Livestream.

SproutVideo, a video hosting service for businesses that also signed the letter, expressed concern in a statement to Circa that, “Without [net neutrality], ISPs would be free to throttle, or otherwise disrupt, traffic from services that directly compete with their own.“

Net neutrality was enacted in 2015 to “implement and enforce open internet protections” former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler wrote in Wired.

Current FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says net neutrality is hurting and not helping Americans. “Fewer Americans have high-speed broadband access, fewer Americans are working to build next-generation networks, and fewer Americans have competitive choice” he wrote in the LA Times.

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

Jason Cohen, CEO and founder of the artificial intelligence food and beverage company Analytical Flavor Systems, told Circa that internet regulation rule changes could affect plenty of products beyond just online services.

"The world’s beer would be worse," he warned.

Cohen's company pushes streams of data to companies to guide things like beer brewing. If ISPs are allowed to tax certain kinds of data, it could become "too expensive" for small beer makers to use his tech, he explained.


The offices of Analytical Flavor Systems.

In the letter to Pai, all of these companies said they agree with the FCC head’s goal to “drive better, faster broadband.” It’s just the “how” to get there, for Pai, is with fewer government regulations, while this more-than-a-handful of mostly start-up internet companies sees things a little differently.

Cohen told Circa that there's a "level of ignorance" behind the FCC thinking that most businesses would benefit from a net neutrality repeal.

"There have been companies that have come out in favor of the repeal," Cohen said. "They all have financial gains that are motivating them. Companies like Comcast and GoDaddy would make more money.

"I think if politicians, the FCC and the general public understood that repealing net neutrality would make everyone’s beer and food worse, then no one would do it."

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