Why Tomorrow’s Net Neutrality Hearing Is A Big Deal For Mobile Marketers

Tomorrow, February 17th, the House Energy and Commerce committee is planning a hearing regarding net neutrality.  Though you’ve likely heard of the controversy surrounding the concept of net neutrality, what it means for mobile marketers and content providers might not seem as obvious.

Following tomorrow’s hearing there’ll be a Congressional Review Act vote, which if passed would both overturn the regulation and prevent the FCC from ruling on the issue in the future.  If Congress overturns the FCC’s ruling in this manner it will truly be the end of net neutrality.  So what exactly does this mean for the mobile ecosystem?  Shane Neman, CEO of mobile marketing provider Ez Texting, wrote a great post today on his company’s blog explaining why tomorrow’s hearing is so important.

“When the FCC issued its network neutrality ruling in December they declared mobile data providers exempt from the principal of network neutrality.  But apparently this wasn’t enough for some parties; Verizon and MetroPCS promptly sued the FCC in an attempt to force a repeal of the fresh regulations,” Newman explained.  “The FCC responded, noting that regulations need to be published in the Federal Register before you can challenge them.  The opponents of net neutrality clearly are not trigger shy.”

“If the wireless carriers have the right to degrade, throttle and block services on their networks, they have the right to degrade, throttle and block mobile marketing campaigns,” he continued.  “Anything would be fair game – restrictions on in-App advertising, mobile search and display ads blocked unless delivered by preferred networks, and mobile commerce forced through carrier platforms instead of neutral parties such as PayPal.  The point is not to ponder every possible hypothetical; you either understand what is at stake or you do not.”

Newman goes on to call out Public Knowledge, a Washington DC-based public interest group we’ve covered many times before on MMW.  The group has worked tirelessly on educating the mases on net neutrality, and has setup a campaign called “The Internet Strikes Back,” which is a day – February 17th – where the Internet as a whole is asked to call Representatives and tell them how important Net Neutrality is.  On the campaign’s site, consumers can sign up to get a text message on the 17th that will automatically connect them to their Representative.