|I was thrilled to hear this week that the chairman of the FCC, Tom Wheeler, is defending net neutrality.
It’s wonderful news for anyone that runs a Website, as well as for end users.
I believe that the Internet has transformed the world economy, and Net Neutrality is a major reason why.
Net Neutrality Upheld – A Win For Anyone With a Website
One of the amazing realities of the Internet is that any company that puts time and effort into building a website – big or small – can aggregate people, interests and purchasing, regardless of geography.
The Internet has allowed small companies, started by a single person, to compete on a global scale. Creating jobs, and more consumer choice in the marketplace.
If you’re not familiar with net neutrality, it basically means that your Internet Service Provider (Verizon, Comcast, etc) cannot create paid “fast lanes” that give some companies (or themselves) priority. Instead, all emails, web pages, video and data are treated equally.
I’ve been a member of several World Wide Web (W3C) working groups that help set standards for the Web. Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the person who created the World Wide Web, is a frequent contributor. According to a recent interview, when he designed the web, he “deliberately built it as a neutral, creative and collaborative space.”
Why is this even an issue? Companies like Netflix use up a tremendous amount of resources. Netflix accounts for about 35% of all downstream Web traffic in North America. YouTube accounts for nearly 19% of traffic. ISPs, burdened with a lot of traffic on their networks, don’t feel like they can charge their subscribers more money, so they tried to get companies like Netflix to pay them for “priority access.”
In my opinion, creating a “fast lane” that forces businesses to pay more to have their content appear quickly will reduce competition in the marketplace, and dramatically limit consumer choice.
Google, Microsoft and others have calculated that a 200 millisecond improvement in site speed directly translates into more sales for an eCommerce site. And Google rewards sites that load more quickly with higher rankings.
Small business owners can’t win if they are locked out of the fast lane. Without Net Neutrality, it will only be companies that can afford to pay the network owners for priority access that will win the battle of speed.
The Internet has changed the world economy in ways that my grandfather could never have imagined. My grandfather was born in 1898, and at age five, immigrated to the United States from Poland. He ran a saloon and general store in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and told stories about robbers holding up the store and getting away on horseback.
For my grandfather, the only source of his customers was the train that brought people to the small frontier town in Wyoming. Selling to people across the United States and the world, without meeting them in person was not even in the realm of possibility.
Without Net Neutrality, many small businesses would be forced to deliver their goods (their information) at the speed of a horse. While larger companies with bigger budgets will be able to reach customers at the speed of a bullet.
I’m thrilled. This is a great step forward for the future of the Web.
Founder, Customer Paradigm
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