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NCTA Advises Waiting to Regulate The Internet of Things

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The government already knows how to regulate—cable operators would even say they “overregulate”—the provision of the Internet of bits and bytes. Now, the White House’s chief telecom policy advisor is looking for ideas on how to approach the Internet of Things.

That means all those connected devices are becoming not only a new data stream but a new revenue stream as internet service providers, often labeled gatekeepers by government policy makers, are in prime position to be gateways to those connected homes, cars and businesses.

The National Telecommunications & information Administration, the White House’s chief telecom policy advisor, has been collecting comments on how it should approach-and promote the IoT. It comes as no surprise that the IoT would be high on the Obama Administration list of issues.

Within a couple of years, 90% of companies will be employing the technology, according to a new IoT study released by the Telecommunications Industry Association last week.

And as stakeholders have found when it came to issues such as network neutrality and set-top boxes, what the White House concludes about a telecom policy issue can translate to pressure from the president to take a particular action.

Even without that threat, stakeholders were likely to advise the government not to rush in and regulate IoT, and that was clearly the case with cable operators.

In comments to the National Telecommunications and Information Association (NTIA) last week, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA) said the government should focus on freeing up the necessary spectrum, while holding off on regulating the space.

NCTA said regulatory restraint and caution should be the hallmarks of any FCC government policy. It said there was still much that was uncertain, so refraining from intervention was the order of the day. What was not uncertain, said cable operators, was the need to free up more spectrum.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.