Whether realized or not, all users have an expectation of their online experience–this includes being able to access any website whenever, wherever. As consumers of technology, ahem, the interwebs, we all desire control of our time and the content we choose to research, download, watch or read online.
Net neutrality supports this notion.
“Net neutrality is the basic principle that protects our free speech on the Internet. Title II of the Communications Act is what provides the legal foundation for net neutrality and prevents Internet Service Providers like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T from slowing down and blocking websites, or charging apps and sites extra fees to reach an audience (which they then pass along to consumers.)”
This is good for your business
Net neutrality (or lack thereof) affects companies of all sizes because it influences and shapes how consumers experience the internet. To put it plainly, net neutrality reserves the right to communicate freely on the internet. Networks are open, facilitating a level playing field when it comes to business competition. All businesses have an equal opportunity to be discovered. Smaller businesses, startups and entrepreneurs use the internet as a tool to launch their companies, advertise products and services and reach customers.
Without these rules in place, various internet service providers could influence and ultimately decide which content is more readily available to consumers. Based on preference and competition by ISPs, users may be blocked from accessing websites, redirected to different sites or encounter slower speeds during their online navigation. ISPs would also have the authority to charge companies with extra fees in order to be placed in the “fast lane.” Essentially, without net neutrality companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon would decide who is and is not heard.
It’s good for consumers, too
As stated above, net neutrality affects the internet experience of consumers. With a level playing field between all online businesses, consumers experience these platforms equally without any additional fees. Without net neutrality, ISPs would have the power of distributing businesses into fast and slow lanes. This would be determined by each company’s ability to pay extra fees. An inability to pay extra fees would automatically place your business in the slower lane. Consumers would be less likely to discover your business. This would create a challenge for new businesses who are simply trying to get off the ground. In a world without net neutrality where companies are forced to pay extra fees in order to remain accessible, it is likely these fees would increase payments by consumers. As it is, consumers can search freely for products and services from a range of businesses.
Net neutrality is important because it allows creativity and a place for people to exchange thoughts, ideas and express themselves freely. There is potential that net neutrality may go away with new legislation passed by President Trump. The Federal Communications Commission has started to propose a new review of the rules. The new proposal written by the FCC is titled “Restoring Internet Freedom.”
What are your feelings on net neutrality? Do you think others truly understand the implications it may have on the way we use the internet as businesses and/or consumers? Comment, below!