Net Neutrality – one small business’ view

Net Neutrality – one small business’ view

Today I read a blog post about the FCC net neutrality decision and it’s potential impact on manufacturers. I can’t say that I agreed with the post, and thought I’d use this blog as an opportunity to comment on some aspects of the above-linked article, which I’ll quote from below.

Today FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and two other commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) received a standing ovation after voting in favor to apply 1930’s era regulations to the internet. It’s doubtful any manufacturers were in the audience

In the 1930s, regulation created one phone company, which stifled innovation in telecommunications. The FCC regulations here aren’t going to consolidate internet service providers into one conglomerate. So, I don’t know that I understand what is meant by this statement.

The internet has become a critical tool across the manufacturing enterprise. It is used to run machines on the shop floor, it connects cars to make them safer, it allows small manufacturers to grow their business globally. Manufacturers have leveraged the internet and other technology to become the most innovative industry in the world.

I don’t disagree with this at all. Utilizing an open platform has allowed and fostered innovation.

The FCC’s decision today to regulate the internet puts that innovation at risk.

How?

Net neutrality means that a service provider cannot charge a company for preferred access to the network. All communication should be treated equally. This has been the de facto standard for the internet since its inception from the days of DARPA.

It’s the threat of service providers like Verizon and Comcast that would have threatened innovation by requiring companies to pay for access to Verizon or Comcast customers, or have their service be disrupted by lack of bandwidth.

Investment in this piece of critical infrastructure has driven the United States to be the world’s internet technology leader.

According to who? Compare the bandwidth available to American consumers at the individual and business level with customers in other developed nations around the world, and you’ll find we’re paying far more money for far less service than our worldly competitors.

Any future investment decisions will now have to be reevaluated as a result of the FCC’s action today. This means manufacturers will be delayed in accessing state-of-the-art technology they need to differentiate themselves in the world market.

If someone can explain how keeping a service provider from opportunistically price-gouging customers in what is generally an oligopoly equates to being denied state-of-the-art technology, I’m open to being educated.

3D Printing Buildings

Ask the average person on the street what they know about 3D printing, and you’ll find that they’ve maybe heard about the desktop devices that make little widgets. They probably won’t tell you about 3D printing a building.

But, that’s what’s happening in China. The Chinese didn’t put a machine on-site and build the entire building in place. They built components off-site, then assembled them into a building at the location. But, they’re supposedly recycling waste material into the concrete mixture as a binder, which makes it lower cost and environmentally responsible.

There was a Minnesota man who 3D printed a castle in his back yard. His next project was going to be printing a full house. What I think we need to consider is having some government funding into researching projects like this.