Why Net Neutrality Is Crucial for Small Businesses

net neutrality

For many years now the issue of net neutrality has been a topic of discussion and then a realized fact. As defined, net neutrality is "the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites." This essentially ensures a level playing field for all users of the internet. According to current FCC regulation, all internet service providers (ISPs) must provide their customers access to all internet sites at the same speed. This is what's known as the Open Internet, and it means that as consumers we do not have to pay extra or sign with a specific ISP in order to have access to certain content.

Previously under the Obama administration, as a result of the 3.7 million comments it had received from the American public, the FCC ruled in favor of net neutrality. Now, however, President Trump's FCC commissioner Ajit Varadaraj Pai has objected to the Open Internet Order and stated plans for modernizing FCC policies to "match the reality of the modern marketplace." So net neutrality is under debate once again with many people worried that free communication and access to each other on the internet will soon be a thing of the past.

Small Business and Net Neutrality

While maintaining access to a free internet is an important issue to individuals, it's an even larger issue for businesses because an open internet is what allows small and medium sized businesses to be able compete with the larger conglomerates at all. In the past decade since the Economic Crisis of 2008, companies have only merged and become larger. In the absence of net neutrality a large corporation like Walmart could make deals with Comcast or AT&T to ensure continuous consumer access to their website. ISPs are able to slow down traffic or restrict access to certain sites, and they have in the past. This applies to businesses whether they offer goods, services, or entertainment. In fact, the open sharing of ideas which is what frequently sparks new research and new products has only happened because the internet has been a free place for all to explore.

Net Neutrality Needs Your Support

If you believe that all internet traffic should be treated equally and that ISPs should not be able to throttle speeds to certain sites or impede traffic, you should take some time to get more familiar with what is happening currently, including reading up on the Trump Administration's proposal for "Restoring Internet Freedom." 

The FCC will be taking comments from the public on this issue until August 16th, so make your voice heard here at gofccyouself.com. Click Express+ to leave a new comment. If you'd like further help on what kind of comment to leave, here's a good article to help you. Please do weigh in. The internet as we know it could disappear without enough support. 

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