JONESBORO – The Federal Communications Commission’s vote to repeal the Open Internet Order of 2015 will not impact the way Ritter Communications operates, company officials said Friday.
Prior to Thursday’s FCC vote, internet service providers (ISPs) like Ritter Communications were required by federal regulations to not interfere with nor influence their customers’ online activities. The repeal of the 2015 regulations frees ISPs to engage in the same practices that have been allowed for internet content providers (like YouTube or Instagram) and search engines (like Yahoo or Google). The repeal also eliminates the possibility that out-of-date regulations originally intended to control the historical “Ma Bell” AT&T monopoly could be applied to internet services, which flourished up until 2015 under a bi-partisan, light-touch regulatory framework.
Opponents of the regulatory change contend that the repeal will open the door for ISPs, particularly large companies like AT&T and Comcast, to implement new practices or charges that could negatively impact consumers. However, Ritter Communications is joining many ISPs in pledging to continue to provide internet services as it always has, and its customers should expect no changes as a result of the FCC’s actions.
“We understand that the Open Internet Order is a hot topic to many people, but the policy changes voted by the FCC Thursday will not change the way we operate,” said John Strode, Ritter Communications Vice President of External Affairs. “Our customers will not be impacted by the policy changes.”
Strode said Ritter Communications does not block or throttle consumer access to internet content when the customer’s use is lawful and consistent with the company’s acceptable use policy. In addition, Ritter Communications does not offer “pay-for-priority services,” meaning the company doesn’t speed up access to specific websites in exchange for compensation.
Another concern consumers have voiced regarding this week’s policy changes centers around the collection and marketing of personal data regarding a customer’s internet usage. Under the 2015 regulatory framework, content providers and search engines were allowed to track and sell customer usage data, and the practice has become commonplace with those types of companies. ISPs were restricted from doing so, but the new regulatory policy enables ISPs to engage in similar data collection and marketing activities. Strode said Ritter Communications customers have no cause for concern regarding this practice either.
“We do not and will not share or sell information about how our customers use the Internet,” Strode said. “We have and will continue to respect our customers’ privacy.”
About Ritter Communications:
Ritter Communications, founded in Marked Tree, Arkansas and headquartered in Jonesboro, began providing local phone service in 1906. Today, Ritter serves 62 communities and more than 45,000 customers in northeast and north central Arkansas, southeast Missouri and west Tennessee with advanced voice and data services, TV and high speed Internet typically found only in major metropolitan areas. Ritter invests heavily in the communities it serves by deploying proven, best in class infrastructure and technology while coupling it with a world class customer focused experience. To stay connected, visit RitterCommunications.com.
Press Release – Ritter Communications