The Impact Of Net Neutrality Laws On Your Business

  • Forbes | by: Chalmers Brown |
  • 12/08/2017
When President Obama was in office, he was an avid supporter of net neutrality. The concept of net neutrality contends that there should be equal access to everything on the internet, regardless of whether it's in regard to a small business owner or large company. That means it upholds the principle that everyone should be able to communicate freely online. By offering this equal access and ability to get your website and content in front of the same audience, it leveled the playing field for everyone, from startups and freelancers to small business owners.

Red Light For Economic Growth

However, there are new laws that are signaling a real change that could take this open and free access to the internet away from small businesses and consumers. This is especially the case if regulations are removed that were previously stopping internet service providers (ISPs) from charging consumers for access and institutions to get access to certain consumers. Data prioritization could become expensive -- something that a small business owner most likely wouldn't have room for in the budget.

Therefore, if a business cannot afford to pay for this premium service so it can access its target audience, it will lose the online channel that was the primary way to reach them. Returning to traditional marketing channels will likely not help a company reach its audience. Economically, the removal of net neutrality could create significant problems, stifling the very businesses that have helped revive and grow the economy.

Additionally, larger companies -- particularly media giants -- could then control what content is shared with everyone who is online. This could lead to the marginalization of many groups that were gaining voice and power through their ability to leverage the internet to raise awareness for their causes.

Another reason I and others oppose the loss of net neutrality is that taking it away could impact companies behind the internet-of-things (IoT) devices. The end of net neutrality goes beyond just streaming content. Devices will be affected. In May, the Republican-led Federal Communications Commission started working toward overturning the agency's authority to enforce the net neutrality regulations it created.

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