How the net neutrality repeal could impact telemedicine services
Although been more than a month since the Federal
Communications Commission voted 3-2 to repeal net neutrality rules, the topic
remains a hot-button issue.
The FCC’s decision affects more than just consumers. Lawyer
Kristi Kung dives deeper into what the repeal could mean for telemedicine
In November, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai argued that the
government’s light touch approach to high-speed internet would be beneficial to
“However, the 2015 rules already prioritized critical healthcare
services,” Kung wrote.
They differentiate between Broadband Internet Access
Services (or general internet traffic) and Non-BIAS data services, which are
exempt from the rules and ensure faster speeds. FCC Order 15-24 notes that
telehealth services “might alternatively be structured as ‘non-BIAS data
services,’ which are beyond the reach of the open Internet rules.”
Kung concludes: “Therefore, telehealth services could have
secured an exemption under the old rules without implementing paid prioritization
across the market.”
However, the past is the past. The FCC took a vote, and now
healthcare industry experts are concerned that rural and small practices may
not be able to afford high-quality telehealth services. And rural communities
tend to be the ones that need telemedicine the most.
“Net neutrality advocates have posed the question, ‘What
happens to telehealth if Netflix streaming services is given preference over
critical medical applications?'” Kung wrote.
Thanks to MedCity News for this information