How is the end of net neutrality going to affect my business?

“The US’s top media regulator voted to end rules protecting an open internet on Thursday, a move critics warn will hand control of the future of the web to cable and telecoms companies.”

– The Guardian, 14 Dec ‘17

Do you have a small business that is based on internet supported interactions? Like Uber or Amazon? Or do you use digital tools to promote your products and services? Well, if the USA is your main market you better be ready for the upcoming changes…

Net neutrality illustration

Net neutrality illustration. [Original from imgur.]

Net neutrality is based on the principal that every sort of traffic should be treated equally by the cable companies, e.g. they are not allowed to spead up, slow down or block webpages, apps or other platforms.

Now the rules changed. The cable company can ignore that principal of equality without infringing the law. Keep reading to figure out how will it affect you as an internet user and your business.

What does it mean for me as an internet user?

There is the possibility that in various internet supported industries the competition stops being based on innovation and consumer deligh, to become a “who can pay more” competition. Which would lead to worse online services and less options.

You may get better deals from internet provider in exchange for your power of choice, i.e. if you have specific needs and you do not mind to just use the platforms your internet provider has a partnership with (one or two options for each online service) then you may pay less than someone who chooses to maintain a neutral service.

Most likely the switch between the neutral and the “liberal” internet will be over a few years, especially because of the huge controversy it is surrounded by.

What does that mean for my business?

The power (and profits) shifts from the ones providing the online service to the cable companies. The is a bigger concern if you have a large business or one that requires more internet to run because it can mean negotiating and paying a premium the cable company in order to favor your digital platforms.

If you are a entrepreneur, with a small business and you need internet to power it, this change means you will need more effort to grow your business. Here, a good way out may be by reinforcing your presence on favored social media platforms and by creating strong incentives for e-word-of-mouth.

You may also need to make your platform even lighter to compensate for the disadvantage you might be suffering.

The same applies for the ones that, although are not internet powered, are promoting themselves through digital tools, e.g. restaurants or gyms.

 

In a decade, if the rest of the world keeps the principal of net neutrality, it will became a case study about the importance of net neutrality in entrepreneurship,  innovation and economical growth. Personally, I believe the only winners with this change are the cable companies.

What does the end of net neutrality mean for your business? Tell me in the comments below and share this with your friends. Especially, if they have a small business.

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