It’s uncertain exactly how the end of net neutrality will affect everyone, including small business owners. Everything you hear or read about the topic is, at this point, simply speculative and opinions. We should all keep in mind not to jump to conclusions, but rather wait for the facts to see how it will truly affect us all. I’m personally trying to learn all I can on the topic and prepare myself for change.
That being said, in my opinion, ending net neutrality has opened the doors for ISPs (internet service providers like Comcast, Service Electric, Verizon, etc) to charge more money. And when in our history have we ever seen larger corporations NOT taking advantage of being able to charge more money? I see ISPs essentially being able to “double-dip”- charging consumers for higher usage, and at the same time “taxing” website owners for their usage (i.e. website visitors).
Will Websites be Taxed by ISPs?
Larger sites with higher traffic will be most affect if this happens. For instance, sites like Facebook, YouTube, Google, could all be “taxed” by ISPs on their daily website traffic. Could you imagine paying 1¢ per day for each website visitor on 1 MILLION website visits? That’s a $10,000 per day tax….is it likely ISPs would do this? They say they won’t, but can you really trust Comcast? I mean every time I look at my Comcast bill they are charging me more and more money….taxes for this, or fees for that.
Will small business websites be affected? Probably not, but it’s possible. If ISPs start taxing websites based on daily visitors, website owners could start to see increases in the cost of owning and maintaining a website. Since web traffic could most likely be “taxed” by ISPs now, the price of domain names, website hosting, SSLs, emails, etc could all increase based on how many website visitors you have, or how many emails you send.
How much do you use the internet to run your business?? It’s likely that internet service at your business location will increase, especially if you completely rely on internet service to run your business (using online tools, sending emails, charging credit cards, taking customer orders, etc ALL rely on the internet). And if you offer “free wifi” at your location, you could be charged more (because it’s more internet usage). Again, will this happen? We don’t know….but NOW it’s possible.
The biggest change I believe we all could see is ISPs will start creating “website lineup packages” for internet service, kind of like they have channel lineups for your TV. So for example, if you want unlimited Facebook usage and Netflix streaming, that will cost you an extra $25/mo. Again, all speculative, but certainly possible now.
The Hidden Agenda Behind Net Neutrality…
Most ISP’s claim “they are not going to change, regardless of net neutrality”. But if ISPs were not going to change, why would they push so hard to end net neutrality? There is definitely a hidden agenda in my opinion.
Be informed and make your own decisions about Net Neutrality. Here are some great articles for additional reading:
- https://www.forbes.com/sites/joshsteimle/2014/05/14/am-i-the-only-techie-against-net-neutrality/#29b3bcd970d5 (older, but good article)
Updated December 29, 2017