And yet I’m still amazed at how walls continue to crumble around us; between countries, between cultures, between markets, between corporations, and between sectors.
In and of itself, net neutrality is maybe one of the most boring subjects since cell mitosis, tax law and first-year algebra. It is the concept, you see, behind the widely held belief that since so many facets of business these days are Internet-reliant, and so much critical data is being transmitted daily over publicly funded networks, the Internet should remain, much like a public highway, an open-access thoroughfare that does not discriminate for (or against) any one lawful user.
Pretty boring, huh?
Because so much of your business – so much of our business as manufacturers and global entities – is now based on the Web.
How we communicate with our existing employees; the manner with which we recruit new ones; how we submit bids, or monitor global competition; how we use the cloud for data storage and high-level computing; how we design new products and share sensitive information with divisions and sub-contractors across the globe; all of that stuff is Internet-based, and as such falls under the purview of the FCC.
Understand, the rules governing net neutrality were first drawn up decades ago by the FCC and have been tweaked a number of times by that federal regulatory agency, most recently this past month.
Understand too that many GOP leaders are now unhappy with those rules, thinking that they are going to have a “chilling effect” on investment in new technologies and that they’ll somehow stifle innovation, entrepreneurialism and job growth, and that those very same leaders are considering taking the FCC to court to get them overturned.
And understand as well that the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has already come out strongly against the FCC’s most recent take on net neutrality, using the same coded language about a “chilling effect” that organizations opposed to regulation have always dusted off at times of pending regulation.
Look, I’m not saying you should be for the net neutrality rules, or against them. But I am saying you need to form an opinion, and you need to become conversant with the issue — if only because your business, your competition, and the future demand you should.
Because, like it or not, while we may still be in manufacturing, the walls around what we’ve always defined as such continue to crumble.
(BTW, Let me share with you two videos, both made last year, at which point the FCC’s proposed rule changes included the provision of an Internet “fast lane” for those wishing to pay for it; a proposal which — thanks in large part to the first of these two — came crashing to the ground in wave of public outcry.)