Should I be concerned about Net Neutrality?

Net neutrality is the concept that the internet service providers should provide equal access to web sites regardless of content or the source. The idea is that by allowing equal access everyone, big business or small, average Joe or superstar has the same access to information on the Net.   The current net neutrality laws were carried over in the Obama administration in February of 2015 with a vote of 3-2. Under the direction of Thomas Wheeler as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, many were concerned that his lobbyist past and membership in the National Cable and Telecommunications Association would shift net neutrality in the direction of big corporate internet providers. What happened was a strong support for the American consumer. Zoom forward two years and net neutrality is once again up for debate as a new administration makes moves to threaten access. How can changes in net neutrality impact small business?

  • Internet Service Providers (ISPs) may have the ability to limit the speeds of the internet based on websites or apps frequented.
  • IPSs may be able to charge each website for data prioritization, which would give increased speeds while browsing that site.

Still puzzled about how shifts in net neutrality could impact you? Think of it this way, on the school playground there’s always a big, threatening kid who bullies the other smaller kids into giving over their lunches, paying for his snacks or some other egregious ‘fee’ for simply breathing in his space. ISPs, if left to their own devices, may become like those playground bullies, charging small businesses exorbitant fees just to play in the same playground as everyone else.

Worse yet, because your mom only gives you enough money to buy lunch but some kids have lunch money and an allowance, the playing field shifts further because they can afford to pay more for better access to the playground.

Net neutrality means that your small business gets the same internet speeds and access as Target, Walmart and your local diner. It’s fair and equal for all. Loss of net neutrality will cost your business in lost marketing opportunities, a tightened sales pipeline and less access and online sales.

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Copyright 2017 by Steven A Feinberg (@CPAsteve) of Appletree Business Services LLC, a PASBA member accountant, located in Londonderry, New Hampshire.