The Potential Effects of No More Net Neutrality
This past June, the network neutrality rules put in place three years ago officially ended. They were implemented to help regulate the internet, much like a utility, to prevent unfair practices and keep the service affordable and available to all. The basic tenet was to treat all data transmissions equally regardless of provider or user.1
As these rules are eliminated, businesses can increase charges — particularly the more dominant internet service providers such as Comcast, Verizon and AT&T — giving them the option to create varying levels of service. This could mean faster transmission feeds for a higher price.2
Providers may even block content from a competitor. For example, if your provider is Comcast, it might block access to Netflix because it is a competitor of Hulu — partly owned by Comcast.3
Providers also can enter agreements with certain websites, such as Amazon or Walmart, to allow faster transmissions. This would put smaller companies at a distinct disadvantage, potentially leading to fewer start-ups and large monopolies.4
So far, internet providers have indicated they do not plan to make these types of changes.5 However, the economy is riding high, and most companies are turning sufficient profits. It is generally when businesses experience declines that they begin innovating new revenue models — and that’s when the end of the net neutrality rules may begin to affect consumers.
1 Knowledge@Wharton. June 14, 2018. “What the End of Net Neutrality Actually Means.” http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/the-end-of-net-neutrality/. Accessed July 12, 2018.
Across America, there is a broad effort to update infrastructure ranging from metropolitan cities to small towns and rural areas. Given the scope of repair and replace tactics, many companies are dedicated to finding solutions to not just upgrade but to enhance new infrastructure projects.
For example, dozens of companies in the U.S. and abroad are experimenting with the concept of “smart roads.” Much like smartphones and smart appliances, smart roads feature materials embedded with sensors. These sensors monitor the road or highway’s wear and tear, transmitting the information online to a driver’s smartphone or auto navigation system, alerting them of obstructions and traffic jams, and could even contact emergency services when an accident is detected.1
The state of Colorado is testing a pilot smart-road project this summer on U.S. Highway 285, approximately 80 miles southwest of Denver. The pilot program will run for five years, during which time the existing road surface will be covered with concrete slabs featuring these pressure sensors with Wi-Fi connectivity and fiberoptic cables. The goal is to see if this technology can make driving safer for everyone.2
However, even if the project proves effective, high costs are still a roadblock to widespread implementation. Current estimates for smart roads are about $4 million per lane per mile — nearly twice as much as conventional roads. Engineers have proposed various methods of funding, including packaging and selling the smart roads’ traffic information to businesses looking to buy or build in nearby areas. Since many retailers rely on location to generate customer traffic, it may be of great value. This could help defray the higher cost of smart roads to build a nationwide network.3
1 David Cox. NBC News. June 25, 2018. “Smart road technology could turn highways into crash-sensing ‘touchpads’.” https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/can-smart-roads-save-lives-new-test-may-provide-answer-ncna885816. Accessed July 12, 2018.
Are You Addicted to Your Smartphone?
According to research, nearly 20 percent of the population is addicted to their smartphone and another 30 to 40 percent are at high risk of becoming addicted.1
Most people unlock their phone 200 times a day. Smartphone addiction can impair personal relationships, especially among family members and partners. Scientists also say the following combined personality traits are more likely to develop smartphone addiction:2
- Highly conscientious and organized people who tend to be anxious and stressed
- Agreeable and meticulous people who value their relationships with friends to the extent of being compulsive about staying in touch
1 Tara Bahrampour. The Washington Post. April 10, 2018. “The personality traits that put you at risk for smartphone addiction, according to science.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2018/04/10/the-personality-traits-that-put-you-at-risk-for-smartphone-addiction-according-to-science/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.4ff652802144. Accessed July 12, 2018.
Content prepared by Kara Stefan Communications.
We are an independent firm helping individuals create retirement strategies using a variety of insurance and investment products to custom suit their needs and objectives. This material is intended to provide general information to help you understand basic financial planning strategies and should not be construed as financial advice. All investments are subject to risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.
The information contained in this material is believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed; it is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions. If you are unable to access any of the news articles and sources through the links provided in this text, please contact us to request a copy of the desired reference.