If you spend any amount of time on the internet, you have likely seen that the FCC recently voted to repeal net neutrality. There are a lot of people up in arms regarding this recent vote for their own personal reasons. As a marketer there are reasons you should be interested in keeping up with the proceedings of the war on the internet. It is not just a partisan issue in which all sides are fighting for the sake of winning over the other. I encourage you to learn more about this topic to form your own opinions on it.
What’s It All About?
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have to provide the same speed to all websites, and all information flows through one symbolic pipeline on its way to whatever you are using to access the internet, be it your computer, phone, tablet, or whatever else. The speed of how the information reaches you changes depending on the speed of flow in that pipeline. If you pay for dial-up quality service, all of the information you are trying to access will reach you much slower than a household that pays for internet in the highest speed possible. All flowing information is treated equally. Your informational YouTube video gets to you through the same pipeline that your Google search does. Thanks to net neutrality, your video only takes longer to download because the file itself is larger, not because YouTube itself gets slower download rates as determined by your ISP.
In all honesty, this is not a topic that has divided the parties for years. The current standards within the country have only existed since 2015, but they’ve had support from all sides until rather recently. The freedom to access the same internet does not change based on what websites you view. While equality of different things is sometimes a polarizing topic, the only people who would win in the case of repealing net neutrality are the ISPs.
Why Does It Matter?
Net neutrality inspires competition. In a free market, as the internet is today, all websites, apps, and companies are on the same playing field. Every single one is pushing to get more views. Every platform wants you to watch a little longer or play just one more game. As it stands, the way that the information flows through the internet, with the support of your ISP, does not change based upon the size of the content that you are trying to reach. Without net neutrality, ISPs are granted the right to change the quality of speed of the internet that you access depending on their relationships with companies. If the ISP strikes up a deal with Walmart, speeds to access Target’s website could suffer.
If nothing else, as a small business, as a marketer, or as a human being, this matters because we do not want to lose our free market. How can anyone become a competitor to a business like Amazon when they start as a small business? It is a David and Goliath scenario. Without the protection of net neutrality, everything has the potential to change – prices, access to your favorite sites even to marketing your own site. If you are trying to advertise something, the speed at which it loads will affect the impact of interactions with consumers. Not only would you have to pay for your ads to be seen, but you could also have to pay for premium speed when appearing on a site.
Sure, the repeal of net neutrality could mean that the price of accessing the internet could be lowered if you are only interested in accessing very simple sites. The average person, however, accesses social media and other aspects of the world wide web every single day. The slippery slope of net neutrality could not only lead you to pay more as a consumer but also as a marketer.