The Elimination Of Net Neutrality Must Protect Public Safety


A Fact Sheet was recently issued by Democratic FCC Commissioner Clyburn on the FCC’s proposal to eliminate Net Neutrality.  As noted by the Commissioner, the Rules sought to be repealed were previously upheld as reasonable regulation by the U.S. Court of Appeals.
You may wish to read the Fact Sheet in conjunction with Last Week Tonight’s Story by John Oliver from a couple of years ago.  You might want to move to the 2:30 point of the video to skip the setup jokes.
There are significant questions as to how the elimination of these rules impact public safety communications.  It was originally argued that Net Neutrality would keep carriers from being able to offer public safety preemptive service.  That apparent hurdle was overcome, as can be seen by AT&T’s FirstNet offering as well as Verizon’s competing offering.
It has also been suggested by a former FCC attorney that the absence of Net Neutrality would have a negative impact on public safety.
Public Safety is increasingly dependent upon IP connected services, from transmitter sites with IP-based interoperability, to IoT security, to backhaul and controls, to VOIP E911 calls.
Regardless of which Net Neutrality position you believe in, what is important is that if the FCC continues on its apparent course to “free” providers of their current responsibilities, the final rules must include provisions that specifically preclude the ability of providers to give a reduced prioritization to public safety traffic (or to make them pay more), regardless of whether such traffic is FirstNet related.

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