Business Consulting

Net Neutrality: Why it matters

We recently asked Erika Dickstein, Founder and CEO of Spring Insight to share her thoughts in an easy-to-digest post about Net Neutrality, and why it’s so important for Small Business Owners to be aware of what’s going on.

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Currently Net Neutrality creates a framework around how telecoms must treat data. A byte is a byte no matter where it comes from or what it contains. The obliteration of net neutrality would mean that telecoms would be able to create market pricing to alter the handling of data.

What are some examples of how this could manifest?

  • Internet will almost certainly be more expensive. In Portugal, where there is no net neutrality, the telecoms are starting to slice the internet up and charging separately for video, audio, social, email & cloud. Getting everything (as we have now) will, of course, be more. 

 

  • Those who pay can gain better exposure. So perhaps Amazon pays Comcast to give access to their site free with any account. Small retailers, of course, can no to do this and thus, will be less accessible than Amazon. 

 

  • Telcoms could (and did prior to the passage of the Net Neutrality act of 2015) block access to content that they perceive as controversial. 

 

  • Telcoms could (and did prior to the passage of the Net Neutrality act of 2015) throttle access to competitors or those they wish to “influence” to pay more money.
Bottom line, net neutrality keeps the playing field level. In some cases, it feels like that playing field has your third-grade rec soccer kid (small business) playing against Pele (Amazon) but at least the field is the same size and parameters for both.
Unfortunately, this isn’t a congressional decision. The FCC decides. Congress can call and put pressure on the FCC but the FCC is the ultimate decider. (Particularly Ajit Pai, who went straight from Verizon to the FCC.) 

Here’s what you can do about it:

If you are from a district where you have any leverage whatsoever (red) call your congress person, otherwise, fill out the FCC comment form. The proceeding number is 17-108. 
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