Internet Neutrality - Note Pad With Text

The Net Neutrality issue has led to intense and endless debates all over the world, although the issue stemmed in the United States. The idea of Internet providers burdening website owners with fees for speeding up the users’ access to those sites sparked in some peoples’ minds around 2014. Needless to say, a true revolution ensued, as the proposition wasn’t just discriminatory, it was about to crush Freedom of Speech and equal chances for small businesses.

We are still talking about Net Neutrality today, even if the FCC made it clear that there would be no such thing as fees and differentiated Internet speed and access. In February 2015 the FCC based the new Net Neutrality rules on Title II of the Communications Act, protecting all website owners and all internet users alike. Why is this still an issue, then? Simply because there are plenty of Net Neutrality opponents doing anything in their power to boycott it and shake the very foundation of an open market and a leveled playfield for everybody.

The Fight the Future campaign that made a major contribution to today’s status quo of the open internet should not be forgotten, as awareness is more important than ever. Some of the most powerful advocates of Net Neutrality were small businesses, startups, and beginner entrepreneurs who would have been killed by the proposed regulations. Are they off the hook now? The future is yet to come, but to make things clear and emphasize the importance of Net Neutrality, we should remember the main negative effects its demise would have on small and even medium businesses.

1. Your Small Business Would Face Financial Catastrophe

Big players in the field who support the death of internet neutrality can manage to pay high fees in order to gain high speeds and fast internet access from their users. Small businesses which rely a lot on the Internet to gain visibility, to promote their business, to advertise and to sell would never be able to pay premiums to get the same treatment from internet providers.

The situation might get critical, as speed matters from plenty of viewpoints:

  • A user may quickly give up on trying accessing your slow speed website and never engage with your company, product, brand or community.
  • As search engine optimization goes, Google has been including site speed in their rankings since 2010 – if a small business is pushed to the slow lane, it can say goodbye to rankings and conversions.
  • If a small business relies on video streaming, it will rapidly lose its main promotion and selling Loading content for five minutes in a tab that never opens is a death penalty to all small and medium business which made video a pivotal part of their strategy.

The other side of the coin would be to pay the premium fees imposed by providers and burdening your company with unnecessary costs. And with new costs comes the mandatory question: “where to cut the budget to manage the situation?”

2. Cutting down the Budget May Likely Translate into Stunted Job Growth

Your company doesn’t afford to pay the fees, thus losing website speed. It would also be unable to gain visibility and grow its pool of users and customers, even though it offers competitive products at competitive prices. Going back to the budget problem, if a startup decides to pay the fees and hold its ground in the front line, it would have to take some serious money saving measures. Usually, this gets translated into firing people, cutting down salaries, or refraining from employing new specialists.

3. There will be No Competition Anymore

Net Neutrality allows small companies to play in the same league as bigger ones on a leveled field and in the same market. But if they eliminate the neutrality, they also remove a small company’s chances to compete with a bigger company in the same industry niche. In other words, the next Microsoft would never take off the ground in the lack of the same chances to reach an audience and showcase its products and services.

Today, all users are free to choose what company they want to work with. But being blocked to access some smaller companies that may offer high-quality products just like big enterprises would end the life of startups and entrepreneurs.

4. Killing Net Neutrality Can Kill Online Marketing

It seems that we live in alternate realities in the same time: on one hand we have the Net Neutrality debate. On the other, we have spectacular rises in online marketing strategies, with new technologies and platforms ready and willing to boost the smallest company to the highest peaks of success. Every day you hear about successful Facebook Live campaigns, YouTube and Vimeo campaigns, Instagram’s new features, mind-blowing techniques to attract more visitors to a website and amazing opportunities for website owners to promote viral content and increase users’ engagement.

What campaigns, engagement and viral marketing can one small company produce if users don’t have quick and easy access to their websites? What smart content creation system can one employ if people never get to read that hard-worked blog post? How can users enjoy your videos, online streams, written articles, image boards and collections and multi-media campaigns if you are pushed into a corner of darkness?

These are just the tip of the iceberg, as the death of net neutrality can snowball to depths we can’t even foresee just yet. The main issue is that everybody is against everybody else, and all suffer the consequences – from the IT guys who would have to re-adapt to the new situation to tech giants offering free website hosting and templates, to the end user who will directly experience the negative impact of monopoly from an economical and social point of view.

One can’t even fathom the effects of Net Neutrality demise on the global economy, where companies placed on different continents work together and conduct successful businesses based solely on the internet.

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