Last month the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted for new net neutrality rules on that could allow ISPs to charge content providers for prioritised speed and reliability.
The president of the FCC, Tom Wheeler, had received criticism from net freedom advocates and numerous technology advocates for proposing such rule changes, warning that the proposals could let broadband providers prioritise traffic on their networks.
However, commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said on the vote: "I believe the process that got us to this rulemaking today is flawed. I would have preferred a delay. I think we moved too fast, to be fair."
Wheeler said: "The potential that there would be some kind of a fast lane has many concerned.
"I don’t like the idea and I will work to see that does not happen. We specifically ask whether we can and how to prevent an internet fast lane."
The FCC’s proposal does somewhat result in the fact that prioritised traffic deals may be legal, but it also asks whether deals should be banned, and how to prevent unprioritised traffic from slipping into an internet ‘slow lane.’
In May, the UK government acted to veto EU legislation that enforces net neutrality. The European Parliament had voted to put net neutrality principles into law, but every country in the EU must also pass the legislation for it to come into effect.
Critics in the UK against net neutrality say that the law would hinder the Government’s attempt to block illegal material.
A government spokesperson was quoted as saying: "We do not support any proposals that mean we cannot enforce our laws, including blocking child abuse images."
In light of the UK’s position, here are five reasons why the ending of net neutrality could affect your UK online business.
1) ISPs and the Government could discriminate against content they do not like.
Without net neutrality, ISPs can favour business partners or strategic allies over your business which may actually be in competition with their interests.
2) Small and personal websites could get slower content delivery.
ISPs will be able to leverage website owners into paying for faster load times. Small and home-owned websites won’t get a look in.
If ISPs force website owners pay for faster load times.
3) Your business may have to pay for faster delivery.
Just like the point above, be prepared to shift some money to gain access to fast content delivery if net neutrality is ended. SMBs and personal websites will be the ones to suffer from slower content delivery.
4) Your competitors, particularly those with a bigger budget, could pay for faster content delivery which will oust you from the game.
The FCC’s proposal which would allow for ‘commercially reasonable’ discrimiation is the very opposite to the idea of cultivating a business startup environment and entrepreneurship. Competitors that already have an established budget will be able to gain an upper hand over your business.