Some Potential Good News For Net Neutrality

During a 10/9/2014 town-hall style meeting in Santa Monica, CA President Obama provided a very clear, if not belated, executive position on the impending Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decision on whether or not they will move forward with proposed rules that would ultimately allow Internet Service Providers (ISP) to slow down traffic for any organization that fails to pay premium fees for speeds currently experienced.

Adaptistration People 146Emphasis added:

On net neutrality, I made a commitment very early on that I am unequivocally committed to net neutrality…I think it’s what has unleashed the power of the Internet, and we don’t want to lose that or clog up the pipes.

And so there are a lot of aspects to net neutrality. I know one of the things that people are most concerned about is paid prioritization, the notion that somehow some folks can pay a little more money and get better service, more exclusive access to customers through the Internet. That’s something I’m opposed. I was opposed to it when I ran. I continue to be opposed to it now.

Does This Mean The FFC’s Proposed Rules Are Dead In The Water?

Not by a long shot.

Obama followed up his remarks by reminding everyone that the FCC is an independent regulatory agency and he does not have the authority to order them to take any specific action.

Now, the FCC is an independent agency. They came out with some preliminary rules that I think the Netroots and a lot of folks in favor of net neutrality were concerned with. My appointee, Tom Wheeler, knows my position. I can’t — now that he’s there, I can’t just call him up and tell him exactly what to do. But what I’ve been clear about, what the White House has been clear about is, is that we expect whatever final rules to emerge to make sure that we’re not creating two or three or four tiers of Internet. That ends up being a big priority of mine.

For now, the period for submitting comments to the FCC have ended so we’re officially in hurry-up-and-wait mode until a vote is taken and a decision rendered.

In the meantime, you can watch Obama’s comments via the following video and catch up on some historical context via the President’s position on Net Neutrality in an article by Alex Wilhelm in the 10/10/14 edition of TechCrunch.com. Likewise, the New York Times published an article on 10/10/14 by Edward Wyatt that provides an in-depth overview of Obama’s remarks.

When it comes to how this issue could have a profoundly negative impact on performing arts organizations and individual artists along with some practical insight on what they can do to prepare for dealing with a paid priority internet, we’ve got you covered via the following series of articles:

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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