Over the past 18 months or so the FCC has been looking at and adjusting the Net Neutrality regulations. (For a full backstory and comprehensive look, click here.)
A condensed version is that the new regulations allow Internet service providers to prioritize certain traffic on their network and restricts them from touching others. The type of information created by VTCs and VoIP systems is not protected.
Recently the Massachusetts legislature introduced House Bill 3383. This would dictate certain rights of software purchasers and responsibilities of software creators. This covers “embedded software” — programmable instructions provided on firmware delivered with the digital electronic product for the purposes of product operation, including all relevant patches and fixes made by the manufacturer for this purpose, including, but not limited to, synonyms “basic internal operating system,” “internal operating system,” “machine code,” “assembly code,” “root code” and “microcode.”
Why does that matter to you? Do you have a programmer? Do you sell anything that requires special programming or configuration that end clients cannot do themselves? Then this legislation applies to you. If you sell, work or operate in the state of Massachusetts, pay attention. If you are a manufacturer whose products end up in the state of Massachusetts, pay attention.
These two simple pieces of news and information raise an issue that most of us likely have not given much thought to: government advocacy. Do you have lobbyists?
Probably not. You most likely don’t have the budget for a lobbying effort on the scale of Disney or any of the telecom companies. What you do have is a phone and an email account. What you can do is contact your local representative. This applies both on the local and federal level. We need to begin engaging those who represent us and educating them. Their lack of understanding about the technology they are passing laws about is staggering. I don’t fault them; they do a great amount of work in the time they are given.
You can be their expert on all things AV. This can be about wireless frequencies, the FCC’s dealing with Net Neutrality, or trading overseas. Whatever area you think will impact your business, you need to help them out. Give them a call, and email. You can even visit their local office or the one in Washington. If the federal level is too much, then start at the local level. In Illinois our capital is in Springfield, conveniently just about an hour away from the AVNation offices.
It is worth your time and effort to let them know what they are doing wrong … and how to fix it.