Rules on Net Neutrality in the United States were finally rubber-stamped last week and the news is likely to be welcomed with open arms by the online gambling industry. In a nut-shell the new rules, approved by the FCC, will prevent Internet Service Providers (ISP) being able to charge firms for faster connections and effectively filter out certain content. The three basic protections set out by the new rules are as follows:
1. Fixed and mobile broadband providers must disclose the network management practices, performance characteristics and commercial terms of their broadband services.
2. No blocking: fixed broadband providers may not block lawful content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices; mobile broadband providers may not block lawful websites, or block applications that compete with their voice or video telephony services.
3. No unreasonable discrimination: fixed broadband providers may not unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful network traffic.
The new guidelines outlined above are certainly a good thing for the online gambling industry. Everyone being on the same level playing field means that all sites get a look in. In addition, the small-time innovators that have the best products won’t be stifled and will continue to make the online gaming market what it is today. This is another reason not just the gaming industry that will benefit. Innovation is essential in every facet of life and without it, many of the world’s most famous creations may never see the light of day if net neutrality were abandoned.
As we’ve stated here in the past, if nations such as the US and UK start to decide that net neutrality isn’t worth it then there’s likely no way back as many of the world’s largest nations are very strong on censorship. Thankfully, the US has stayed strong on net neutrality and if the UK follows suit then for now, at least, we are safe from losing the open market. The new rules take affect from the 20th November when we will be safe for a little bit longer.