Net Neutrality has been a topic of discussion lately, especially in the United States of America. But what’s it all about, and how might Net Neutrality affect your business? Let’s find out…
On the 14th of December 2017, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) voted to repeal some of the regulations that protected net neutrality. Long before, and even after this decision, the issue of net neutrality has been a matter of much debate on discussion forums. To understand why many internet users and business owners are dissatisfied with the outcome of this voting session, you need to know what network neutrality is.
What is Network (Net) Neutrality?
According to Business Insider, net neutrality disables Internet service providers ability to dictate content types and sources that users can access online. Including the number of dedicated resources to stream such content. Instead, Internet service providers must treat all sources of traffic equally.
Why is this Topic Controversial?
ISPs like Verizon, AT & T and Comcast want to charge for using their networks and hold the power to select what content consumers see online. Many businesses, both large and small, will not be able to effectively continue with their internet marketing strategies. Without the full internet access, for which they built their marketing plans around. Large companies might keep up with most of these charges, but smaller companies with more limited budgets will definitely suffer.
These effects are not just restricted to businesses and brands alone. Their target users will also have to pay to bypass usage limits. The loss of net neutrality poses a great hindrance to the free flow of marketing and advertising materials most marketing efforts are designed to promote.
The role net neutrality plays and how it can affect your business is critical. Here are some things you need to consider:
Pay More for Better Access
When an Internet service provider creates tiered accessibility, this means no network neutrality, and this also means they will start looking for fees for higher access. Smaller companies with smaller budgets will not be able to compete with larger businesses that can afford these new access rates. This also means that nothing prevents larger competitors from slowing down access to competitor sites.
Limited Access to Content
ISPs can limit access based on their interests internally. For example, Comcast is likely to promote NBC content than ABC to its online subscribers, because Comcast and NBC are connected, but network neutrality prevents Comcast from discriminating and must show ABC equally. This means there is no shorter time to load NBC, and certainly does not block ABC. Your favorite sources of information may not be available as they are now.
Limited Access to Potential Users
While explaining the previous example to be limited to what you would be able to access (which could increase your business costs), it also works in the opposite direction. Potential customers may now have more difficulty in finding you.
Slower Loading Time
Suppose ISPs do not block access to sites but influence traffic by stopping the transfer or slowing down download times on non-premium websites (paying clients). Website speed and reliability can hurt you. As mentioned before, the user experience is a critical factor for your customer online. Impatience is universal and can affect the traffic to your website and the results you achieve. If you want to participate in video marketing and broadcast on your site, you can be in a non-owl stream (slow, slow down).
Video and Large Format Marketing Strategies
Small and medium-sized businesses dependent on videos (such as YouTube, Vimeo, etc.), and other larger format sources as part of their marketing strategy, could be scrambling for new strategies. Small and medium-sized businesses may not be in a position to pay an ISP to share content. Therefore, it’s possible that your potential users do not see your promotions. And thus are not tempted to buy your products.
How to Make Net Neutrality Work FOR Your Small Business
Although several efforts are being made to ensure that the FCC’s decision is not cast in stone, every business owner needs to get proactive about how their businesses can keep benefiting even with these restrictions,
Here are a few of those ways:
Identify the Platforms that remain favorable
In countries like Portugal where there is no net neutrality, internet service providers sell access packages. Package pricing determines the number of platforms a user will be allowed access to. Hopefully, we never get to that point. However, if we do, then your marketing strategies should be focused on those platforms that your target users can afford to use. Which will most likely be social media sites.
Increase Email Marketing Efforts
Surfing the web will never be the same again. To reduce cost, internet users now more than ever will need a centralized source for all the information they might need. If you’re not actively trying to get your content and offers directly in the face of your target users, they may get lost in the sea of content floating on the internet.
If your business is strictly web-based, these new regulations will be too restrictive. They’ll also likely be too expensive for you to manage with while getting the same results you are used to. With blockchains, you can totally avert major internet corporations and use an open network sharing method. Using an open-source blockchain will connect you to a web-host who has unrestricted internet access. A reliable example of such blockchain technology is Substratum.
As business owners and internet marketers, we can’t afford to be reactive to net neutrality changes. We have to stay proactive. We need to identify the challenges now, that may face our businesses as a result of these changes. And devise solutions for them to move forward. Hopefully, the information provided above works as a suitable guide to get started.
Please leave any questions or contributions you might have in the comments section below.