In the United States, politics really does leak into every facet of everyday life, especially the business world. Wireless carriers and ISPs, under Title II Net Neutrality rules, are currently not allowed to favor some web content over others by way of throttling, blocking, or charging for access, in order to ensure that all web content gets a fair shake in front of users. A serious gray area of net neutrality rules that has been pervasive in the wireless industry lately is zero-rating, wherein consuming certain mobile content does not count against a user's data plan. This move and others like it may become much more prominent, if not the outright norm in the coming months and years; President-Elect Donald Trump has selected a third member of his FCC advisory board, and this completes a triumvirate of members who are outspoken against net neutrality. The newest member is Roslyn Layton.
The newest member of Trump's FCC advisory team, in short, feels that net neutrality protections are unnecessary. The rules came about from the rule of current FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, and had never existed in the past. According to Layton, the fact that ISPs and mobile providers had never violated neutrality ideals on the web before is a pretty good indication that they won't do such a thing, and even with the current industry climate, Layton asserts that antitrust protections will keep the open internet out of any real danger, rendering net neutrality protections redundant. Layton also argues that zero-rating and similar efforts could offer an alternative to paying out the big bucks for advertising, allowing content creators to reach consumers without resorting to the usual methods of going through a big name like Google. Layton also advocated for alternatives to cable boxes, and for consumer privacy in regards to internet providers.
Trump's advisory panel on the FCC has thus far been painted by most observers as a mixed bag for consumers, with many decrying their ties to the industry and the potential of their views to end up becoming FCC executive actions that favor corporate interests over those of consumers. With views that could be considered to be on both sides of the fence, Layton continues this trend, leaving it as anybody's guess just how Trump's administration may affect the FCC and the telecom and wireless industries.