Have you seen the recent news about net neutrality?
In December 2017, the Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal net neutrality. This means that internet service providers can block or throttle content and create premium fast lanes or premium packages for certain types of content such as social media. Read more on that in this New York Times article: Why Net Neutrality Was Repealed and How It Affects You
It used to be that we had an open internet and that we had equal access to all content online. Basically, the big companies can now pay to get an edge and internet service providers can censor or slow down any content they don’t like, even just to block their competitors. As the ACLU says:
“Imagine if the phone company could mess with your calls — through bad connections or frequent dropped calls — when you tried to order pizza from Domino’s, because Pizza Hut is paying them.”
These types of practices are not theoretical, check out the examples of actual interference from the ACLU: What is Net Neutrality?
This matters for small business!
The repeal of net neutrality could mean lower speeds for small businesses. Remember, you only have a couple seconds and if your website is too slow, people click away. Speed also counts for Google rankings.
In addition, the repeal of net neutrality could mean higher costs for small businesses just to gain visibility. Read more on that in this New York Times article: F.C.C. Plan to Roll Back Net Neutrality Worries Small Businesses
In Forbes’ What Net Neutrality Changes Could Mean For Your Small Business, the author says:
“The biggest issue with net neutrality is that it makes it harder for small businesses to compete with bigger ones.”
In addition, SEO guru Rand Fishkin included net neutrality in his 9 Predictions for SEO in 2018. He thinks we will start to “feel the pain” in 2018. He also thinks the changes will come slowly . . . as he said on Twitter:
“If they [the big internet service providers] slowly boil us frogs over a decade, they’ll be safer from political repercussions.”
What can you do?
Sadly, having a good website and doing SEO won’t help with this problem! Your choices:
- Contact your representatives and take action.
- If you have an online business, plan for a bigger budget to pay for visibility, access and speed.
- Focus your business locally, in the real world, and use old-fashioned marketing techniques.