This Week in Imaging: What Could the Repeal of Net Neutrality Mean for Printing?

Happy Holidays from Wirth Consulting and friends! Photo credit: Kathy Wirth

Last week’s repeal of Net Neutrality by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) holds the potential to completely reshape the Internet in the United States. Previously under U.S. Net Neutrality Rules, Internet service providers (ISPs) were forced to apply the same standards to all data they transmitted. But now, with the repeal of Net Neutrality, ISPs will be able to decide how fast – or slow- consumers access the Internet, and are likely to offer varying tiers of Internet speed and services to customers, and may slow access or charge more for certain content.

In the printing and document-imaging sector, the effects could be vast: including throttling of bandwidth and blacklisting of competitive Web sites and services, with some end-users simply unable to afford to pay the price for the performance levels that we enjoy today. This could make it more make it more expensive to supply the printer-management, workflow, cloud, and data services that are at the heart of our industry. Solutions such as mobile print apps and email-print could also be affected, and some end-users wouldn’t be able to afford to access – or thus print from – Web sites. ISPs may also charge companies a fee to make their content available online.

The founder of 3D-printing service Shapeways described it like this in the New York Daily News:

“My company, Shapeways, gives anyone with an Internet connection access to 3D-printing technology. We allow everyone to turn digital files into objects made of materials such as ultra-high-detail plastic, porcelain, steel, and even gold. Our marketplace allows entrepreneurs and designers to open shops and sell those independently created, 3D-printed objects to customers around the world.

Since every object is printed on demand, these shops allow creators to reach the whole online world without upfront cost or risk.

But we need a level playing field in order to be able to compete.

Without net neutrality protections, ISPs would simply be able to wait for us to prove the viability of our model, and then create their own 3D printing services. Once they have their own version of our product, those ISPs could decide to block or throttle access to us, or even redirect traffic to their own services instead.

With the flick of a switch, our factory in Long Island City would have nothing left to print.”

One silver lining in this may be that some companies may find it more affordable for making content such as product catalogs available in printed form. On the other hand, these days, much of commercial printers’ print jobs come across over the Internet, and this traffic could be throttled if they don’t “pay up.”

Of course, we don’t have a crystal ball, and all of this will take some time to play out – for better or worse. It’s also worth noting that several states are suing the FCC over the decision, and that the U.S. Congress has the ability to overturn the repeal.

Office-Imaging News

LD Products Targets Office-Imaging Dealers with OEM-Alternative Toner Cartridges – Read more here.

HP Inc.’s New State-of-the-Art Smart Manufacturing, Research Center in Singapore to Use 3D Printing, Robotics – Read more here.

Xerox Adds Two New Partners to Channel Partner Program – Read more here.

Toshiba Renews Copier/MFP Contract with LA Schools – Read more here.

New EFI Fiery DFE Available for Konica Minolta bizhub C759/C659 Copier/MFP – Read more here.

Why Cloud Printing? Samsung Explains – Read more here.

Research Shows Many Customers Neglect to Set Printer Passwords, Making them Vulnerable to Hacking – Read more here.

Legal Briefs

Canon Granted Preliminary Injunction in Germany for Alleged Toner-Cartridge Patent Infringement – Read more here.

Executive-Management News

Konica Minolta Appoints Laura Blackmer Senior VP of Dealer Sales – Read more here.

Commercial-, Production-, and Industrial-Printing News

HP Deploys First HP PageWide C500 Press for Industrial Package Printing – Read more here.

Acquisitions

Oval Partners Acquires Second Dealer this Month – Read more here.

Market-Research News

Context: Printer Sales Flat in EMEA, But Inkjet MFPs See Growth – Read more here.

Large-Format Printer Market Projected to Grow at Steady Clip, High Growth for Inkjet – Read more here.

Other News

OKI Europe Consolidates Europe, Middle East and Africa Sales Operations – Read more here.

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December 2017

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