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IT Briefcase Exclusive Interview: Why Protecting Net Neutrality Means Protecting Innovation and Choice

March 8, 2023 No Comments

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Net neutrality regulations are being dismantled. Your internet connection may soon become as restricted and controlled as your cable TV options. Organizations across the U.S. are still fighting to revive the legislation and protect users from censorship to ensure an open internet for all and encourages innovation and empowers choice.

Russell P. Reeder, CEO and president of OVH US, shares his thoughts on net neutrality and what the recent legislation changes mean for consumers and businesses.

  • Q: First off, what is net neutrality?

A. The concept of net neutrality has been a core principle for maintaining a free internet from the start. Simply put, net neutrality is the idea that internet service providers should treat all content flowing through their cables and cell towers equally, regardless of what the content is, as well as who, where, and how it is being consumed. Net neutrality legislation ensures a free and open internet for everyone who uses it.

  • Q: Why is government regulations importance when it comes to this topic?

A. I’ve run many technology companies—I’m usually opposed to strengthening government regulations in support of technological advancements and progress. However, when it comes to net neutrality, we need regulations to make sure we have equal access to all technological innovations, not just the ones that the major telecom carriers want to allow through their larger and faster connections. As a consumer, choice is always better—having government regulations in place to make sure consumers have that choice available to them is incredibly important as we look towards the future.

  • Q: What is the purpose of dismantling Net Neutrality?

A. Money. Without the regulations put in place by net neutrality, there’s no legislation that restricts internet providers from putting specific monetary values on various types of content and methods of consumption. The FCC has said that this regulation change is needed to increase the United States’ investment in infrastructure, but the reality is that spending is at an all-time high for internet and cloud infrastructure. There was nothing broken and in need of fixing, and in the end it all comes down to money.

  • Q: Why should consumers care about net neutrality?

A. There are so many examples where the largest telecommunication and media companies, such as Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, Time Warner, Charter, and Cox, to name a few, are choosing what content you can watch and when you can watch it. These companies have a long history of limiting your choice as a consumer. Net neutrality makes sure the internet pipe to your home doesn’t become like your cable pipe where someone else tells you what you can see, when you can see it and how much you’re going to pay. There are so many opportunities to improve internet access and choice—we want to make sure not to limit that.

  • Q: What does the dismantling of net neutrality mean for businesses?

A. A free and open internet is valuable not only to consumers, but for businesses looking to innovate. Companies need a level and equal playing field to build new technology in an industry where they don’t need to try to compete and spend millions of dollars just to access the consumers.

When you access the internet, you want access to everything that’s available on it. Having third parties decide which applications, websites, and content are most available reduces consumer choice, and choice is what consumers and businesses thrive on. Keeping an open and free internet is key to driving innovation and enabling choice for everyone. Businesses should not be limited in terms of the solutions progress they’re able to provide. At the same time, consumers, not internet providers, should be able to maintain control over what websites they want to go, when, why and how.

While these changes won’t happen overnight, business leaders should stay closely dialed into legislative conversations on this matter. It is paramount that we stay engaged and get involved. The future of the internet and the choices that remain will be incredibly dependent upon on our ability to maintain a free and open internet for all.

Russell P.

Russell P. Reeder, CEO and President of OVH US


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