Timely Discussions: Net Neutrality-The One Thing We Could All Agree Upon

This week’s Timely Discussions was written by XSeed Venture Partner, Jeff Thermond.

Like most VC firms, we have spirited discussions on Mondays when we look at new deals. As you might expect, we often talk about current events or what is in the news during downtime.

Timely Discussions is a new short form blog which will be written by different team members about a different topic each week.

This week’s topic is the repeal of Net Neutrality executive orders instituted by President Obama in 2015.

Net neutrality written on a wooden surface. Neutral internet concept.

Our team discussed the ending of Net Neutrality this week. I think it is fair to say that around half of us favored it and half had some doubts. Interestingly, no one retreated to the corners of extreme positions. Almost everyone felt like there might be a risk that large broadband providers might try to meter the Internet by traffic type as a Portuguese ISP did almost a decade ago.

All of us felt that if the market did not self-correct (imagine the marketing campaign a competitive ISP could run against any ISP who metered!) then some sort of legislation would be appropriate.

The other area of agreement was that the doom and gloom scenarios being portrayed by Net Neutrality supporters were hurting, not helping, the tone of the discussion. Claims by a local DA that the ending of the policy would eliminate governments’ ability to communicate with citizens were regarded as plain silly. And it was duly noted that the Portuguese ISP example was neither recent nor widely emulated. And we all noted that the Web and the Internet ran just fine back before Net Neutrality was made an Executive order. Proponents of Net Neutrality on our team were just as bothered by the shrill hectoring of advocates as were its opponents. Data driven arguments with valid recent examples go a long way with the XSeed team.