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After a landmark vote on February 26 the Federal Communications Commission or FCC officially classified Internet providers as public utilities. The new net neutrality rules ban high-speed Internet providers such as Verizon and AT&T from blocking websites, slowing down content from particular sites or selling-off faster traffic speeds to the highest bidders. What does this mean to your business? Well eventually smaller businesses could be at risk for paying more for their internet just to accomplish everyday business tasks because of added fees and taxes. Let’s look at why.
First we need to look at the argument for Net Neutrality. Proponents of net neutrality argue that a fast, fair and open internet is a basic right. Net Neutrality has always been a big platform for President Obama and he has called for the strongest possible regulations over cable and telecomm companies. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler explained: “The Internet is simply too important to allow broadband providers to be the ones making the rules.”
On the other hand, we need to look at Net Neutrality’s Opposition. Some cable companies, telecommunication companies and lawmakers contend that the move is an overreach of government intervention. They also feel that online companies who monopolize a lot of web traffic, such as Netflix and YouTube, should have to share in the cost of expanding and maintaining what it takes to provide Internet content to consumers.
So what will the future bring? Well this is definitely not the end to this debate. As the details of the FCC’s rules become public, Internet providers will have time to take legal action. Already many major companies are threatening to sue the FCC. In the meantime, consumers should not see any immediate changes. We’ll just have to wait and see.