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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

How Will the Net Neutrality Repeal Affect Greater Cincinnati Internet Customers?

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission voted to discard  net neutrality rules that prevented broadband providers from slowing sites or demanding payments from them for fast delivery. The decision opens the door for very different consumer experiences on the internet. The rules will go into effect in the coming weeks.

In short, net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers must treat all data on the Internet the same, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication.

RELATED: What's Next After the Repeal of Net Neutrality (The New York Times)

The repeal has left some wondering how local service providers would handle this.

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With Cincinnati Bell and Spectrum controlling much of the market share in Greater Cincinnati, many questions were pointed to them.

Spectrum is a brand of Charter Communications, formerly Time Warner Cable, which Charter Communications acquired in May 2016. They are headquartered in Connecticut, so a local statement on how the company would handle the repeal wasn't made available to the local public, however The Verge compiled a list of responses on the ten biggest ISP's responses. They said the statement has "no plans" to change its current policies, but would not give a firm commitment on future practices.

Follow up emails to Spectrum went unanswered.

Cincinnati Bell, on the other hand, responded directly to how they would handle the repeal. They are headquartered in downtown Cincinnati and have invested approximately a billion dollars in local fiber infrastructure in Greater Cincinnati neighborhoods.

Chief Operating Officer, Tom Simpson, a northern Kentucky resident, laid out what changes current and future Cincinnati Bell customers would see.

Tom Simpson. COO of Cincinnati Bell. 
In short: customers won't see any changes. 

"Since the FCC voted to repeal net neutrality rules, we have been asked repeatedly how this will impact our customers," Simpson said in a social media post. "We want everyone to be clear on our position." 

Cincinnati Bell recently sent the following email to their customer base:

Dear Cincinnati Bell Customer:

The FCC recently voted to repeal net neutrality rules. This decision is seen as a “win” for national Internet Service Providers that supply high-speed Internet, and that aggressively lobbied for the change – although many of these providers have so far declined to discuss what the FCC’s vote means for their customers in the long term.

Cincinnati Bell wants you to be clear on our position:

• We will not prioritize Internet content traffic. We have, and will continue, to keep treating all Internet traffic the same way.

• We will not charge you a premium to access content that is freely accessible over the Internet. Our job is to maintain your connection. You decide how to leverage that connection.

In other words: The repeal of net neutrality rules will not impact Cincinnati Bell customers. Cincinnati Bell is building and maintaining a fiber network that is designed to meet the current and future bandwidth needs of our customers. There is no need for Cincinnati Bell to prioritize or throttle Internet traffic.

Cincinnati Bell believes high-speed Internet is a powerful asset that facilitates access to education, employment opportunities, and health services. High-speed Internet allows entrepreneurs to start and expand businesses. And, of course, high-speed Internet supports a multitude of entertainment choices.

Today, Cincinnati Bell can deliver high-speed Internet to approximately 70 percent of Greater Cincinnati. That percentage will only grow as we continue our investment into building a deep fiber network across the region.

Our investment in fiber – which to date totals approximately $1 billion – allowed us to start offering Gigabit service to consumers in 2014. Continuing the fiber investment is the right thing to do for customers. Which makes it the right thing to do for our company.

Cincinnati Bell believes that a net neutral approach is also the right thing to do for our customers. And that’s how we approach every decision we make.

Thank you for doing business with Cincinnati Bell.

Tom Simpson
Chief Operating Officer
Cincinnati Bell

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