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Analyzing the Impact of the Latest Regulatory Liberties on AT&T

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Repealing privacy protection rules

In this article, we’ll discuss the overall regulatory environment in relation to net neutrality, business data services (or BDS), and privacy given the new administration and an FCC (Federal Communications Commission) ruling.

During the recent JPMorgan Chase Tech, Media and Telecom Conference on May 23, 2017, Randall Stephenson, AT&T’s (T) CEO, spoke about an improved regulatory environment. Stephenson said that on the privacy side of things, AT&T and other broadband providers are now regulated by the same standards as Internet companies, providing them with the same playing field.

The repeal of privacy protection rules should help ISPs (Internet service providers such as AT&T, Verizon (VZ), and Comcast (CMCSA) to freely make use of their customer data, giving them the freedom to target consumers for advertising.

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FCC drops price restrictions

In April 2017, the FCC voted to remove a rule that put price limits on the BDS market. The market’s services mainly include broadband Internet access services, which back enterprise operations such as connecting to ATM networks or credit card readers in retail stores and bank branches. AT&T, CenturyLink (CTL), and Verizon are major providers in the BDS market.

Growth in digital video ad spending

Relevant ads usually benefit users, advertisers, and Internet companies. As we can see in the chart above, and according to an eMarketer report, digital video ad spending is expected to grow from ~$10 billion in 2016 to ~$17 billion in 2020.

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