It was roughly around the end of 2017 that the topic of net neutrality reached a fevered pitch. What exactly does net neutrality and its reversal (or not) mean for your small business?
In the USA, the internet is regarded as a Category II or a utility—much like electricity or gas—and determined to be the basic right of its citizens. As such, the companies that provide it cannot decide for themselves which areas “deserve” more water—for example—and which areas do not. That is how net neutrality works. It ensures that everyone gets equal and unimpeded access to the internet and its content.
If net neutrality is repealed, this means that the internet will not longer be classified under its former category. As such, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will be able to decide to either slow down or speed up sources that it deems proper. Meaning, if your business is in any way determined to be a threat or competition, ISPs can simply choose to load your page and information 1000% slower than their own pages.
Net Neutrality and Your Business
A lot of small businesses are mostly online businesses. After all, this means less in terms of overhead costs and the focus would be to provide better experiences and products for the clients. If net neutrality if fully repealed, this can mean that should the ISP choose to favor established brick and mortar companies (and they will), the information about your humble online business could be inaccessible to your clients simply because the net is too slow to properly show it.
It could even be wholly possible that your information is blocked off altogether. If a small business is to survive, it needs its clients to be able to access it. Being blocked off or slowed down can be disastrous for any hope of client retention.
It is always important to be aware of any legislature or move that may impede your rights. In an ideal world, everyone would have an equal access to information and there would be no content or source of information that would be blocked off or severely slowed down. If net neutrality is repealed, that is the scenario that many of us will be staring at the face.
Small businesses that were to be considered as ‘competition’ will be most at risk. If you are against this, it is important to be very involved in the process. The topic of net neutrality will continue to be something of a hot discourse as both sides have their own supporters.
What about you: do you support or are you against net neutrality?