As you may have heard, the FCC is about to vote on Net Neutrality. Many business owners are busy running their businesses, and so haven’t spent a lot of time following the convoluted and seemingly endless arguments Net Neutrality advocates and their opponents have had prior to this moment. However, as it appears certain that the FCC will adopt at least some aspects of Net Neutrality, and you need to know what that means for your business.
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Net Neutrality came about because some businesses – think Netflix, YouTube, and similar video streaming services – use a lot more internet bandwidth than others. Internet service providers wanted to charge these high usage customers more; in return, they would be rewarded with prioritized service – which means faster internet for them.
If these high usage customers get faster internet, what happens to everyone else’s access? Net Neutrality hinges on the concept that internet access is similar to a utility; everyone should be able to access it equally. The FCC is expected to deny internet service provider’s desire for a higher-priced fast lane.
Bundled with this regulation comes the FCC’s assurance that there will be no rate regulation and that ISPs will be able to continue to prioritize content delivery as they have been up until this point, based on bandwidth demands.
Long story short, the Net Neutrality recommendations are designed to ensure that the internet experience you’re used to won’t fundamentally change for the expected future. Internet speeds won’t be getting any faster, most likely, but you won’t see them slow way down, either.
It remains to be seen if ISPs will be taxed in the same way other utilities are; if they are, expect to see those costs passed along to you. On the other hand, the FCC’s commitment to not entering the rate regulation minefield means you may wind up benefiting financially as ISPs use aggressive pricing strategies to attract the most customers.
Either way, the movement on Net Neutrality acknowledges that internet access and mobile data sharing are fundamental to the way we do business now. As the measure stands, the current way you operate your website and social media presence shouldn’t be in any danger – and there may be new opportunities arising due to these changes that allow you to connect with your customers even more effectively.