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 services.

In November, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai argued that the government’s light touch approach to high-speed internet would be beneficial to telehealth.

“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