When the FCC voted to end net neutrality, removing the rules preventing Internet Service Providers from blocking or slowing traffic, many people took it as a wake up call — and then promptly forgot about it. Stories at the start talked often about how mobile carriers, television and Internet will be affected. A less-talked about topic? How net neutrality will affect the Internet of Things.
One concern around net neutrality is big companies, like Comcast and Verizon, could choose to slow down Internet access for websites from competing companies, even competing Internet providers. But our IoT devices also connect through these companies — smart home speakers, connected thermostats, these all require Internet access. That means big companies could, theoretically, slow down your data if you use a competing brand of smartphone or other connected device.
For example, if Verizon made its own connected thermostat, they could quicken up the traffic flow for themselves and slow down for competing gadgets from say Comcast. Huge broadband companies would be able to dictate which connected devices you can use more easily.
It's not a surprise that states are taking the matter of net neutrality on themselves. States including Hawaii, New York, Vermont, Montana and New Jersey have adopted their own regulations, demanding net neutrality.
Despite the FCC's decision, the issue of net neutrality is clearly not over, with its impact on IoT devices still to be seen.