Net Neutrality: How It Affects Small Business Owners

Currently, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) is working to pass a bill that will get rid of net neutrality laws passed when Obama was in office. If you aren’t sure what this means, it’s the reason why you are currently able to read this blog on your computer or smartphone through your current provider. Net neutrality is equal access to the internet across networks.

Fortune describes it as the first amendment of the internet. It’s the ability to access any website regardless of which network you are using. It breaks down to there being a “fast lane” and a “slow lane” for the content you are able to access based on which provider you use for access to broadband.

Without net neutrality the government, and network carriers, will be able to more closely regulate your internet usage and the sites you view.  Customers of certain providers may no longer be able to view your social media content or your website depending on which provider they have.

Some feel that this will cause a drop in sales due to some providers preventing subscribers from viewing your marketing pieces without paying extra.  This will make the biggest difference to companies that are entirely online. Subscribers will have to pay an extra fee to view certain content, making it harder and less reliable for them to view the content. How many of your potential customers are willing to pay extra to reach your site, or view your social media page?

The network provider your potential customers use will dictate which apps the subscriber can use, and what they view on the internet. If you promote your brand on Instagram and the network provider charges extra for Instagram use, those subscribers who can no longer use the app will miss all of the marketing you are aiming to have seen.

The Internet is “the greatest free-market success story in history,” Pai wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Tuesday. Regulations “designed in the 1930s to tame the Ma Bell telephone monopoly” are hurting investment, he argued. In short, Pai’s view is that broadband shouldn’t be regulated like a utility.” Says Andrew Nusca of Fortune.

Many small business owners use digital means to lower marketing costs. Social media is a great place to promote your brand without spending high costs on advertising. If the new net neutrality laws pass, many small businesses will no longer be able to get the word out about their business.

On the other side of the argument, many big corporations see a benefit in removing net neutrality. Saying it will bring a loyalty to brands from customers who choose to pay more to interact with the company through their current provider. It also allows for more partnerships among providers and certain companies, a way for them to grow together and have their services contribute to one another instead of compete against the other.

If you care about this bill, and the affect it will have on you as a consumer or business owner, go to https://www.battleforthenet.com and fill out your information, or attend a protest in your local area. Make sure to protest safely!

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