Professor Tim Wu first brought up the need for net neutrality way back in 2003, when Nokia bricks were our phone of choice and Instagram hadn’t yet taken over our lives. A lot of time has passed, yet his research piece is still just as relevant today. If you find yourself turning into a bit of a net neutrality nerd, his work is definitely worth reading.
Net neutrality is vital for the success of SMEs in the digital landscape. Without net neutrality, we are essentially allowing big companies to become the ‘gatekeeper’ of the internet which can have potentially fatal results for smaller business (or anyone that poses a threat).
You don’t even have to be an SME to be affected by this. An example Gizmodo gave was that Verizon (service provider and Yahoo-parent) could suddenly decide to slow Gmail to a crawl in an effort to get users to switch over to Yahoo’s email service.
Want more of this straight to your inbox?
Can you imagine a world where service providers determined your website’s visibility and not your SEO ranking?
Can you imagine a world where corporations like AT&T (or Telstra for us Aussies) could decide who is and isn’t heard?
A pro-net-neutrality group, Save the Internet, states that “net neutrality is crucial for small business owners, startups and entrepreneurs,” as it lowers the barrier of entry into your chosen industry.
Wait, this sounds bad. Are there any benefits to losing net neutrality?
There is a buffet of benefits to losing net neutrality if you are a big corporation. But if you are a small business, a medium business or a consumer, not so much.
But for a second, let’s put ourselves into the shoes of the big guys. As we have said, they have the potential to become the gatekeepers of the internet and would have the ability to only let websites/applications/businesses in that served their purpose and destroy the digital presence of those that don’t. It is essentially a dictatorship, world wide web style.
Do you want to live in a world where your business is governed by the big-bad-internet-gatekeepers? Because if the Australian government does not put legislation or regulations into place (or at least grant the ACCC power to do so) then this is world we might be faced with. And as the NBN is in it’s final stages of the roll out, this world may be closer than we anticipated. Scary thought isn’t it?