The issue of “net neutrality” has been grabbing a lot of headlines over the last few months as activists push for the concept – which basically states that all content on the internet should be treated equally – but more because it seems that companies are paving the way for web users to be charged differently depending upon the kind of service available to them, among other things. This is an issue that might be particularly impactful for small businesses going forward.
The Federal Communications Commission seems poised to let internet service providers start charging consumers more if they want access to the fastest download speeds available on their networks, according to a report from the Gannett Company. This stands in stark contrast to, say, telephone or television service – which is often provided by the same company – but which federal regulations state must be treated on equal footing regardless of what people pay for it.
The reason this could be particularly troubling for smaller companies is that they probably don’t have the ability to keep up with their larger competitors in terms of paying potentially higher costs for internet service, the report said. What that could effectively mean is that when it comes to e-commerce or simply someone visiting their company website, those people aren’t going to see the sites load as quickly. That, in turn, might translate into them simply clicking the back button more quickly if they become frustrated.
What else could happen?
In addition to the ability of companies to meet people’s needs on the outside, the elimination of net neutrality could also make it more difficult for them to complete their daily operations, the report said. That’s because with companies using the internet for everything more often these days – whether it’s internal communications, saving vital files to the cloud, email marketing, bookkeeping, and more – any slowdown in speeds will likely bring with it a slowdown in productivity. That could mean major problems for companies going forward.
Finally, it’s important to note that firms might want to cut costs just to make sure they can keep up with any potential changes in this way as soon as possible. That could include taking the time to find more affordable small business insurance, such as general liability insurance. That could end up saving companies thousand of dollars per year.