RIP Open Internet: What Net Neutrality Could Mean for Your Small Business

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The 3-2 vote to repeal net neutrality by the FCC will change the way we use the internet and could potentially have long-term financial effects. Net neutrality allowed consumers to surf the net freely and information was exposed to internet surfers unbiasedly. With net neutrality repealed, service providers can control and select what you see, further controlling the gateway of information; which will ultimately lead to misinformation. The internet is not just for pleasure, but a necessity for many to use for work and personal purposes. Capitalizing off of the fundamental use of the internet could eventually narrow down impressions on the web if charges and fees become too robust. However, it's not very likely. There’s no question that this repeal by the FCC isn’t favored by the vast majority, but before this repeal becomes contested (speaking it into existence) what could this repeal mean for your small businesses? 

 

1. Your speed of web traffic could decrease

Internet service providers (ISPs), under the repeal, are now able to pick and choose the activity it allows, which can result to traffic congestion on the web making your web pages load slower. A Google internet ad-survey study shows that mobile site visitors who have to wait more than three seconds for a page to load will give up browsing 53% of the time. 

2.  Suppressed innovation

Slower internet effects your research. One of the many ways entrepreneurs gather innovation for their business and partnerships is through surfing the web. Since ISPs have more control on what is being filtered through the internet, viewership of the websites you frequent could take longer to load leading you to either spend more time on the web…waiting or conducting less research because it starts to become too time-consuming.

3.  General public could become less trusting of doing business online

ISPs now have rights to track online behavior without the customer's consent through supercookies. This could allow the general public to be much more cautious about the information they choose to share online, specifically their credit card information in fear of their card being compromised, which could ultimately affect your online sales.

4.  Your market could become much smaller

If the internet turns into a tiered service with different internet packages this could limit your marketing reach as your website may not be included in certain service packages your customers would purchase (this would be a worst-case scenario).

5. Limit your advertising dollars

ISP’s now have the ability to charge additional fees to sites like Facebook to deliver their data at a faster pace. Facebook could choose to purchase that package or pass down fees to users and consumers on the website by increasing the cost of Facebook ads—a tool many small business owners take advantage of. 

 

Overall, chances are you will not see the effects of the repeal immediately, but it’s important to know what could be the case, so you can have the best strategy in place for your small business.