It might seem like ancient history by now, but it’s only been a little more than a month since the FCC voted to strip Net Neutrality protections.
If you’re unfamiliar with the debate, here’s the two- minute version.
Net Neutrality prevents internet service providers from regulating what content their users can access. For example, Comcast might throttle users’ access to certain web services or block their access to a competitor’s site.
Without Net Neutrality, the ISPs could even restrict access to certain news sources or references. The major cable companies have promised that they won’t do any of this, but it’s very important to them that they are allowed to do so.
Most of the debate has been focused on whether or not the government should be able to make such a restriction. But this has distracted from how this will actually affect small business owners.
And as a small business owner myself, I’m very concerned about that.
Like most small local businesses, most of our customers find us either through our website or social media. We put a lot of work into making sure that our SEO is effective enough to grab local searches and that our branding is strong enough to catch users’ attention.
But with Net Neutrality repealed, ISPs might decide to throttle traffic to our site if we don’t pay a surcharge—like Comcast did with Netflix. They might penalize any sites that don’t use a partner company’s VPS hosting.
And I don’t know about your business, but our budget is stretched enough without needing to pay a ransom to Internet Service Providers.