Net Neutrality Came to an End Today; the Open Internet That Manufacturers Rely on Is Still Here

There’s been a lot of discussion about so-called “net neutrality” recently—some of it factual, some of it…less so. The news out today is a good example.

Last December, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to substitute old “net neutrality” regulations—regulations that would have subjected the internet to a nearly 100-year, rotary telephone–era regulatory structure—with common-sense rules actually designed for the modern age we live in. Today, the old regulations officially came to an end, and a lot of over-the-top rhetoric followed. Some went so far as to claim that today’s changes would somehow end access to the internet or prioritize some users over others. It just isn’t true. The open internet that manufacturers rely on—that you rely on—is still here. As AT&T Executive Vice President Joan Marsh put it:

“The internet will continue to function just as it did yesterday, empowering this generation and those that follow with robust access to information, entertainment and, most importantly, to each other.”

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) submitted comments to the FCC earlier this year explaining the importance of a robust telecommunications infrastructure to today’s modern manufacturer. Manufacturers need a regulatory structure that supports the development and deployment of the latest manufacturing technology, not restricts it as the old regulations would have done. The shop floors and the products of the industry are increasingly connected to the internet, and manufacturers are dependent on continued investment in the networks on which they run. If the infrastructure is not upgraded continuously, it will impact negatively manufacturers’ ability to innovate.

The NAM has and will continue to call on Congress to act on this issue once and for all. Manufacturers need certainty when it comes to long-term planning and investment decisions. We look forward to working with every member of Congress on a legislative solution that will continue to foster innovation in the manufacturing sector.

Robyn Boerstling

Robyn Boerstling is the Vice President of Infrastructure, Innovation and Human Resources Policy at the National Association of Manufacturers.

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