Net Neutrality and Your Stake in it.

The FCC, in a non-shocking manner, announced the repeal of “Obama-era” Net Neutrality.  Whether you are for or against the decision (is anyone truly against an open internet?), it is important to discuss the ramifications of the decision – and most importantly where do we move from here?

The Decision on Net Neutrality

Under Ajit Pai’s decision, with unanimous republican support, Net Neutrality has been repealed.  What this means is that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) now have the power to dictate a websites connectivity speed.  You may be reading this from the comfort of your home on a tablet, laptop, computer, or phone asking “why is Net Neutrality important to me?”  And to that … I say fantastic question.  Net Neutrality has an effect on every American, whether they are business owners or not, because every American uses the internet in some way shape or form.

Some people reading this may think “having ISPs make the decisions doesn’t sound so bad.”  This could not be further from the truth.  Ajit Pai and the republican seats on the FCC seem to believe that Internet Providers will make decisions to benefit the masses, but as the people know, businesses first and foremost serve themselves.  The door has been opened to allow Comcast, Verizon, Times Warner Cable, AT&T, and other titans in the field to make these vital decisions.

Pick and Choose

An example of what lies in the future may help come to a better understanding of what repealing Net Neutrality truly means.  Let’s say that in the near future you start up a business that sells dog treats to local stores and are trying to branch out further by expanding your online presence.  Your website is perfect for the image you want to craft, and you have a great social following yet … you receive virtually no orders online.  After communicating with some of your customers they tell you that it just takes way too long to load up your site, so they decide to go with another product.

You pay your internet bills on time and have been happy with your internet service for the past 2 years … so why has this happened to you?  You see that Comcast has sponsored another dog treat company that they have a stake in, and they decide to put their website on their “hyper-speed highway”.  Their website loads in fewer than 3 seconds and every link is instantly brought up when clicked; while your internet is stuck in traffic in the “average” internet lane.

While this example seems outlandish, it is a reality we may soon have to face.  The Internet Service Provider companies claim that they will not “slow down” access to any sites, they just want to provide the “hyper-speed” lane as discussed earlier.  What they do not seem to understand however, is if there is a fast lane … the other lanes then become slow.  It is a classic attempt to strong arm businesses and companies to upgrade to the fastest possible internet, at an unregulated cost that is determined by solely by an ISP- essentially allowing ISPs to decide which business succeeds.

What is Likely to Happen

Net Neutrality has yet to go through Congress, where the ultimate decision lies.  Hypothetically if the repeal goes through there are a few things you should know about.  The FCC is working to put the power into the hands of ISPs and a weakened section of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).  When it is formally repealed, complaints and malfeasances are to be reported to the FTC in an attempt to keep big ISPs in check.  Whether or not this process will prove to be useful has yet to be determined or examined fully.

The Internet Service Providers will likely provide services that you already currently have access to in a bundle of sorts.  This is to say that you will be charged for a “social media package” which would include quicker access to services like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social platforms.  These types of bundle purchases are almost a certainty, because it will provide new (and expansive) sources for revenue among Internet Service Providers.

What can you do?

If you do not like the sound of businesses controlling your internet access, you can write to your senator or congress representative and demand they properly represent your view … the real American view instead of corporate interests.  You can follow the updates on FCC.gov and even submit a complaint or a supportive comment about Net Neutrality.  Whether you agree or disagree, it is important to stay informed.  For more information related to this topic follow our blog, as we plan to be involved in the discussion … and feel free to share your opinion with us across our social platforms.

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