My fellow Americans, the FCC has finally acted on its promise to repeal the regulations known at Net Neutrality. This move has been a magnet for political debate by those on both extremes. Ignore those people. They are only wasting your time. If you become spellbound by the media circus, your competitors will be busy doing something about it – and beating you. Don’t get despondent and don’t get too overjoyed – just roll up your sleeves and develop a plan to work around the new rules.

Several of my colleagues and I just published a Quick Take report (accessible by clients and non-clients) to help you respond to this government action pragmatically. Among the things you should know:

  • The world as you knew it yesterday did not suddenly descend into chaos. This transition will take time to play out.
  • Pricing models will change. Educate yourself on how the various carriers will alter their pricing and what you get for that money. We do expect bundling (e.g. social media package, streaming video package, gaming package) as additions to basic services. If you don’t buy the bundle, those features you want may be slower – intentionally.
  • Consumers are impacted more than business users, but business is not immune.
  • Enterprise technology organizations should evaluate their home worker, small office, and partner connections. Many of these ride on consumer-grade internet connections. If these are critical to your customer experience, you will be wise to spend more for better SLAs.
  • Advertisers and media producers will need to play by new rules. Bundling and paying for that which was previously “free” will not sit well with a lot of people. If you depend on ads to support “free” services, you will have to reexamine the meaning of “free.” As the old adage goes, nothing is free, nor has it ever been.
  • The paranoia about unfettered telecom monopolies is overblown, but not fiction. Pressure by government watchdogs, industry groups, and new competitors will keep the giants in line. The Cold War philosophy of “Trust but verify” should be adapted here to “Don’t quite trust and always verify.”
  • As for those emerging competitors, we see strong evidence of cloud giants, colocation providers, and others drawing customers away from traditional telcos. Some of these are actually starting to appear telco-like themselves. Much of this business is in back-end corporate networking, but they pose a threat on the consumer side too. None are interested in consumer wireline, but wireless is another story.
  • Don’t expect 5G wireless to save the day. We are still years away from that being a widespread reality.
  • The 5G question is especially important for IoT-based services and applications.

The only thing that matters is that you serve your customers. This impacts your competitors as much as it does you. Those that refocus on network engineering and clever economic models will have the happy customers – and their money! It’s time to get to work!