What is Net Neutrality?
So, you’re probably wondering what Net Neutrality is and why you should care. To put it simply, Net Neutrality is what makes most internet content available on a level playing field. Currently, for example, when you purchase access to the world wide web, almost all websites are available and outside of a few variables, they all send and receive data at the same speed. Speed is important on the internet—it’s an environment where impatience and short attentions spans drive the tendency to surf from site to site.
As you probably know, a Federal Communications Commission vote to potentially remove this equality of access and speed is scheduled for December 14th. If the FCC votes to nullify current rules, some fear that ISPs like Comcast and Verizon will take advantage of the opportunity to block some content unless you pay them extra for access, and build tiers of internet download speeds that place a premium price on faster access.
What Does This Mean for My Business?
In a recent article, the digital marketing consulting website, Moz, lays out a troubling profile of these potential internet tiers, particularly for SMBs who may be forced to pay extra to give their customers and employees premium internet experiences available only at premium prices. Prices that their larger competitors can easily afford, but that may become prohibitive for SMBs. The same holds true for their customers, who may have to pay extra for any access to certain sites.
So, much like with cable TV packages, a day may come when your business (and your customers) have the option of subscribing to a basic, lower-speed package of websites for $50/month, a second tier of “premium” websites for $100, and possibly a mobile social media package for $150.
Under the tiered-access scenario, your SEO, PPC, social media marketing and even email marketing could be greatly affected or even rendered useless. That might be because you’ll be forced to pay a lot extra to send out videos that load and play as quickly as your competitors,’ or extra to link to the websites of certain distribution channels or apps. It might also be because so many of your customers have chosen access tiers that cut them off from your website. The worry is that ISPs could effectively, in the words of Inc.com, “take the internet from being a competitive and profitable resource to being unaffordable, restrictive, and inaccessible.”
How Can I Make a Difference?
As of now, there IS something you can do to preserve the current status of net neutrality. Visit battleforthenet.com, where you’ll find more information as well as a script to guide your call to your law makers concerning this topic, which is so important to everyone who uses and does business on the internet. The FCC votes December 14th…Call Soon!