The coming four years of a Republican-controlled House, Congress and White House will likely be challenging for Google, Netflix, Apple and other Silicon Valley technology companies, as President-elect Donald Trump rolls back or reverses tech-friendly legislation championed by the current administration.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission this week indicated it would likely halt a proposal to introduce more competition in the pay-TV set-top box market. The average American household spends about $230 per year to rent cable boxes from cable companies.
Google, Apple and other tech companies had lobbied the FCC to ask cable companies to create apps that would open up their content to third-party platforms like Android TV and Apple TV.
“The question is how far will the pendulum swing back” in favor of telecom and cable companies, Hal Singer, senior fellow at the George Washington Institute of Public Policy told Reuters.
Republican lawmakers have urged FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to not make any controversial decisions ahead of Trump’s inauguration, as they could be immediately reversed under the new administration.
Republicans have been critical of net neutrality rules adopted by the FCC last year that require telecom companies to treat all traffic on the internet the same. Data-hungry applications like Netflix support net neutrality, which ensures that the company’s competitors, like Comcast and AT&T, can’t charge customers more for accessing Netflix.
Netflix consumes an estimated 35 percent of North American fixed network bandwidth, industry analyst Sandvine says. YouTube, Facebook and Amazon Prime Video are also top bandwidth hogs.
The FCC could also revisit recently adopted rules that subject internet services providers to stricter privacy policies than other companies.
The S&P 500 has gained about 1.1 percent since Trump’s election a little over two weeks ago. Meanwhile, shares of Apple have fallen 1 percent since the election, Alphabet shares are down 2.4 percent, Facebook shares are down 5 percent and Netflix shares are down 7 percent.