The Federal Communications Commission’s new policy on net neutrality has some speculating about the “end of the Internet,” yet this extreme opinion misses the new positive opportunities net neutrality brings with it. Not to mention, a modern world without internet is just not realistic.
The ruling by the FCC states that broadband providers no longer have to treat all Internet traffic equally. This now opens the doors for mobile app developers and telehealth to capitalize on this new area of opportunity.
Since the need for internet services, particularly wireless services, does nothing but grow each year, it will cost more to strain the wireless spectrum, and those who want a slice of the pie must be willing to pay a pretty penny.
Many speculate that network neutrality brings with it benefits for mHealth and the healthcare field as a whole by allowing companies who can afford it (such as the telemedicine industry) faster internet speed.
While many see offering some industries faster speeds for a higher price as a good thing, many fear that this new policy will make affordable and fast internet a thing of the past. Verizon was one of the most vocal businesses that advocated on behalf of the, now former, 2010 Open Internet Order. The previous order had clear guidelines including no-blocking and non-discrimination rules.
Those who are sanguine about the net neutrality policy hope that the changes will encourage collaboration and creativity based not only on growing individual profits, but the desire to provide Internet in an easily accessible manner to landline and wireless users—both personally and professionally.
Google has already announced that they will launch a pilot ISP called Google Fiber that aims to increase connectivity 100 times faster than broadband. Sprint also has new high-speed models in the works that will launch during 2014.
How net neutrality will specifically affect mHealth is yet to be determined, but there will indeed be an impact and many are hopeful that the end result will be a positive one.