• Aaron Magruder

What does Net Neutrality mean to Small Business?


Have you heard of Net Neutrality yet? In short, it is the principal or idea of keeping all traffic on the internet for any person or source equal. i.e. Big business web traffic gets no more priority on the internet as your small business instant message traffic.

The FCC defined net neutrality more broadly in 2005, coming up with four principles—dubbed the “Four Freedoms”—to be applied on an individual basis:

1. Consumers are entitled to access the lawful Internet content of their choice.

2. Consumers are entitled to run applications and use services of their choice, subject to the needs of law enforcement.

3. Consumers are entitled to connect their choice of legal devices that do not harm the network.

4. Consumers are entitled to competition among network providers, application and service providers, and content providers.

The FCC is in favor of Net Neutrality while others believe that you should be able to pay or charge for priority on the internet. Where would this leave small, startup or rural businesses? Would they be able to compete with their larger competitors using the internet?

Comcast was one of the first to be brought to court by the FCC for limiting the flow of a filing sharing application called BitTorrent. (http://www.comcast.net/articles/news-technology/20100108/US.TEC.Comcast.FCC.Internet.Rules/ ). They argued that it was their multibillion dollar infrastructure and should have the right to protect it and other subscribers from being affected by peer to peer file sharing.

Obama has stated he is in favor of Net Neutrality (http://news.cnet.com/8301-10784_3-9806707-7.html) but no laws have been made to date. The Comcast dispute may be the first to be take in front of Congress to resolve with legislation.

Please share your thoughts on Net Neutrality?

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