Now that the FCC has mandated equal treatment of data on the internet, what’s in store for broadband providers? They’ve long argued that net neutrality will lead to less investment in their networks and worse service, thanks to putative new costs. But, judging by US equities markets, few investors have jumped ship ahead of the regulators’ widely-expected decision:
These five companies represent more than 70% of the broadband market, and 60 million customers. The new rules enacted by the FCC will forbid them from discriminating against different types of data—by blocking it or slowing it on the way to your computer. It also prevents them from charging extra to provide faster transmission of data, which could degrade service for other customers.
These companies and other critics of the new rules argue that they open the door to price-setting and other practices that could reduce the value of their networks, but the majority of the FCC that voted to enact the rules says they have formally blocked any such measures. So far, investors agree—but perhaps they are simply confident that internet service providers will overturn the rules in court challenges.