Will the end of net neutrality crush the Internet of Things?


It was hardly a surprise, but this week Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai made it all but official: He announced a plan to scrap Obama-era net neutrality rules.

Since Republicans hold a 3-2 edge at the FCC, Pai’s plan is virtually certain to pass — despite lobbying efforts and court challenges from just about every internet constituency apart from big internet service providers (ISPs). “The Restoring Internet Freedom Order,” as it’s cynically called, will very likely upend the current rules classifying internet service as a public utility and prohibiting carriers from slowing or blocking certain types of traffic.

Most of the commentary so far has centered on possible blockages of fast access to consumer services such as Netflix, or higher ISP prices to ensure unfettered access to popular online content. But the looming end of net neutrality is likely to have far more pervasive effects than a jittery picture when streaming old episodes of Breaking Bad.

The IoT thrived under net neutrality

One of the biggest questions, in fact, is what effect the sunset of net neutrality provisions will have on the Internet of Things (IoT). My initial analysis suggests that the effects could be significant, but will take time to shake out.

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