Net Neutrality Heats Up

Remember when we discussed how the recent elections will impact the arts? If you aren’t the patient sort then today’s you’re lucky day as politicians are drawing ideological lines in the sand over Net Neutrality. If you’re just turning into this and need to know why Net Neutrality matters for arts orgs (spoiler: it does in a big way) you can catch up via a series of posts on the topic.

But back to the latest developments; President Obama clarified his earlier position on wanting to protect Net Neutrality in its current form by releasing a plan that would reclassify telecommunication companies (Comcast, Verizon, time Warner, etc.) as Title II services under the Telecommunications Act of 1996. He announced his plan via a video message posted on 11/10/2014.

“In plain English, I’m asking [the FCC] to recognize that for most Americans, the internet has become an essential part of everyday communication and everyday life.”

Shortly after the announcement went live, the response from opposing political party was swift and although it may seem confusing, know that when you hear one party talk about keeping government out of Net Neutrality, that is actually a position which encourages changes that would lead to nothing but bad news for arts organizations.

It seems as though this issue is shaping up to be a defining topic following the recent post-election shift in political control but don’t expect action until early 2015. For now, the smart move here is to hedge your bet and be prepared regardless the outcome.

Postscript: there was a wonderfully entertaining exchange on this topic today involving Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas who posted a tweet about Net Neutrality that is perhaps best summed up as ignorance on parade. Within hours it was met with a response from Matthew Inman, perhaps one of the sharpest satirical minds generating a regular stream of creative content, in the form of a cartoon at his site, If you’ve been less than certain about what is going on with the whole Net Neutrality debate, Inman’s post should go a long way toward clearing everything right up. Enjoy.

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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