End of Net Neutrality and Your Business
Net Neutrality has been a big issue lately. On December 14, the FCC voted to end net neutrality. Essentially, net neutrality means that your internet provider can’t regulate the speed and access to any web pages. Now that it’s over, your provider can slow down sites that don’t have contracts with your provider, and even block certain sites. Providers can also charge more for allowing access to sites, such as “social media” packages. Basically, this means websites will work like television channel packages.
Led by FCC chairman Ajit Pai, striking down Net Neutrality has been argued as a way to “benefit consumers because broadband providers like AT&T and Comcast could offer them a wider variety of service options.” While true that providers will be able to offer more options, whether or not consumers see it as a benefit remains to be seen. It seems unlikely that being able to “choose” more options, such as social media packages or news packages for the internet will be considered a benefit.
What It Means For You
A major worry for most creators and businesses is that the end of net neutrality will stunt business growth. According to AT&T, “it won’t block websites and won’t throttle or degrade online traffic based on content.” However, from 2007 to 2009, AT&T forced Apple to block Skype and other internet calling options on their devices without being connected to Wi-Fi. This has led to an outcry that AT&T can’t be trusted without net neutrality. Small internet businesses suffered because of this block, and many fear that it is just a taste of what’s to come.
This benefits you if you own a well-established business. If you can make a deal with a provider, your business can do even better than before. Promoted over your competitors, your content offers a faster connection. In an extreme example, your deal could even mean that your website is the only one consumers can view, as providers block competitor’s websites.
New startups may suffer without net neutrality. If they aren’t able to make a deal with a major provider, their business will suffer. And let’s face it, a startup can’t offer as much as an already established business. People claim that ending net neutrality will effectively end the age of startups that we live in now. If you’re a small business owner, you likely could suffer as well.
Many have taken to social media to voice their opinions, including large content providers such as Netflix. Many worry about the effect the end of net neutrality will have on creators and independent businesses.
Others have spread the word to text “resist” to 50409, in order to protest the end of net neutrality. Petitions have spread across social media, as well as links to www.battleforthenet.com, where people can send pre-written letters to Congress, tweet to and call their members of Congress.
Businesses now worry about the effects of losing net neutrality. The FCC members who passed the motion claim that it will actually benefit consumers. They also suggest that the worst-case scenarios are actually unlikely. Only time will.