The Net Neutrality Vote

Think about your typical Comcast Cable TV bill. You pay a basic fee, then have the ability to purchase “packages” that add a.) additional channels like HBO or b.) services like high-definition video.

As a result of the Net Neutrality vote today, imagine your Internet access bill next year. You’ll pay a standard fee to access some websites, then have the ability to purchase “packages” that add a.) additional websites like Amazon.com or b.) services like the ability to watch full-screen video on your desktop or mobile phone.

It won’t have a huge impact the average consumer. We’ll just grumble and pay $200/mo. for Internet access instead of $50/mo. (Comcast is still mad at me because I canceled my cable).

But for small and local business, I believe the defeat of Net Neutrality will have a much bigger impact. Remember $1,000/mo. Yellow Pages ads? Yes, that kind of impact.

These are my clients. These are the entrepreneurs who drive the US economy. These are the folks I’m worried about.

Here’s what Jessica Rosenworcel, one of the dissenting votes at the FCC wrote in the Harvard Business Review:

Small businesses and entrepreneurs will have to bear the costs of pay-to-play internet service, which could make it harder to achieve scale without providing a cut of their revenue to their broadband provider. Those that don’t pay will find themselves at a commercial disadvantage.

In addition, without net neutrality, businesses won’t have much in the way of recourse against the conduct of broadband providers. Instead, broadband providers will have the power to carve internet access into fast lanes for online services with which they are affiliated or develop commercial relationships, while consigning all others to secondary roads with slower speed.

I’m not against change, but overturning the 2015 Net Neutrality Act today will have consequences. That’s what the fight was about.

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