You may have noticed the organized internet slowdown which took place on September 10th, which was meant to draw attention to the issue of protecting net neutrality. At the very least you have probably seen a social media post, or news story about the issue. But what is net neutrality and should it matter to you?
Net Neutrality defined.
Simply put it means your provider allows you equal access to the internet whether you are watching your favourite TV show on Netflix, researching political parties or shopping online. Providers do not charge fees or slow down your connection speed based on the content you view.
What is the issue?
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and corporations argue the idea of a level playing field, where their job is to simply move data, is outdated. They want to be able to charge for the type of data and information you access – in effect creating a tiered system of access and eliminating the concept of net neutrality which has existed since the Internet became widely accessible.
The Canadian situation.
There are established guidelines to prevent content discrimination and control of internet access – safeguarding net neutrality for now. However, the Canadian government and CRTC (Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission) are in the midst of examining what future controls and boundaries will be. Of course Canadians will be impacted by the US Government’s rulings. Consumer and business groups are watching the American FCC debates closely.
Why does it matter to my business?
Small to medium businesses and the general public would literally pay the price if net neutrality is lost. Currently any business creating user-friendly websites, utilizing SEO or establishing a social media presence can compete against larger companies. Potential customers have equal access to their products, and businesses have equal access to customers. With a tiered system of use – whether to be on the web or to access the web, the market place is smaller for buyers and sellers alike. Large companies and corporations would have the funds to pay for and to dominate the internet marketplace.
The internet works. Let’s keep it that way.
Net neutrality has been a key component of the internet since its creation. Without net neutrality, there would be no YouTube, no Amazon, no Google, and no Huffington Post – and the list goes on. Net neutrality is vitally important to the continued growth of online services and the economy.