• The Return of Net Neutrality

    Win McNamee/Getty Images

    Win McNamee/Getty Images

    So, you might remember a couple of years back when the conversation of “Net Neutrality” was an issue. People in the communications industries were all for it, while others, like small businesses were against it. If you’ve forgotten, it was a “pay to play” scheme devised to make it difficult for your small business to be found on the internet unless you paid a premium rate.

    The FCC 2015 ruling, under the Obama administration, known as the Open Internet Order, made it clear that Internet providers cannot discriminate between different types of content. This meant that your Netflix speed wouldn’t be any different than your small business or personal web site. It also meant that a company like Verizon, AT&T, or Comcast couldn’t charge you, the consumer, a premium to watch television from the internet.

    The fight was backed by more than 100 companies, which included: Google, Facebook, and Twitter. They stated that limiting net neutrality would pose a ”grave threat to the Internet.” Google stands by its claim today, saying “If Internet access providers can block some services and cut special deals that prioritize some companies’ content over others, that would threaten the innovation that makes the Internet awesome.”

    However, this is most likely going to change. Where President Obama had put into place people to allow for net neutrality, Donald Trump has done the opposite. He has assigned two anti-net neutrality people to run his FCC. 

    On Monday, President-elect Donald Trump appointed Jeffrey Eisenach and Mark Jamison to head up his Federal Communications Commission transition team. Eisenach is a paid consultant for Verizon, one of the leaders in the anti-net neutrality argument.  He was also a former lobbyist for Sprint.  Jamison works for the University of Florida and is a vocal opponent of net neutrality.

    So what does this mean to you, the consumer?

    Well, your cable television services will continue to climb as each station will have to pay more to be a voice.

    Internet service will increase, depending on what you’d like to have access to view and how much bandwidth you would require. Facebook and Twitter may have to charge you to use their services so that they can continue to be competitive.

    For the small business owner, it will be worse. You will have to pay a premium for your web site to even count in an anti-net neutrality world. Advertising will become the only way that you can compete for a spot of the billions and billions of web pages out there. If a consumer were to type in “auto repair” and [your local city], it is most likely they could get a first page full of Walmart auto shop ads, or any number of big chain auto shops. This will adversely effect the small business owner.

    In the words of author, Thor Benson, “There is no free expression when you have to pay extra to stand on the soap box.

    Article written by Jimm Fowler, myWebSource1