Our Blog: Stuff we think you should know

Haber Group has been serving the New York area since 2000, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Net Neutrality: Everything Business Owners Need to Know [VIDEO]

Net Neutrality: Everything Business Owners Need to Know [VIDEO]

There has been a lot of buzz about the term net neutrality in the news, on social media, and around the water cooler lately. The FCC is preparing to end net neutrality on December 14th, 2017, and it’s causing a major stir. From activist groups encouraging people to call congress with their concerns, to headlines exclaiming that the Internet as we know it is dying, there is a lot to sift through to really understand what the stakes are. Our goal is to make sense of net neutrality without the sensationalism, and explain how it can affect small business owners.

Click here to skip ahead if you want to take part in saving net neutrality right away.

What Is Net Neutrality?

Plain and simple, net neutrality is the idea that internet service providers (ISPs) need to treat all data on the Internet the same. Regardless of how you connect to the internet, your provider isn’t allowed to prioritize certain types of content, websites, or online services for you. This also means they can’t decide to limit or restrict certain types of content.

For example, let’s say your internet provider also has their own on-demand video streaming service. They would much rather you use theirs instead of Hulu or Netflix, so they could put limitations on how much Netflix you could watch (or block it entirely) to try to encourage you to use their service. Since most Americans have very limited options when it comes to choosing an internet service provider, this really leaves us helpless when it comes to what content we can consume.

A lot of people are using similar examples like this to explain net neutrality, but as much as it would be undesirable for your favorite video streaming service to become harder to access, life goes on, right? There is a whole other side to consider...

The Internet Isn’t Just About Consuming Content for Entertainment

This Netflix example is just scratching the surface. The same problem could happen more frequently at smaller scales. It’s not just entertainment and media that could get prioritized, but any and all web content. Social media, search engines, ecommerce and banking, and small businesses who rely on their online presence could eventually see an effect from this.

If your business relies on online traffic to generate leads, abandoning net neutrality means that your internet service provider could make it harder or impossible for some customers to get to your website. Your ISP could prioritize and otherwise interfere with traffic simply because they have partnerships or get paid by businesses who compete with you. This may sound a little extreme, but it has already happened:

Real World Examples of What Net Neutrality Protects Us From

In 2010, DSL provider Windstream Communications admitted to hijacking search queries made using the Google toolbar within Firefox. Users thought they were searching on Google, but instead were delivered results through Windstream’s own search portal.

We’ve also seen cases where service providers were blocking other services on their network to attempt to get users to use their own:

Between 2011 and 2014, AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon blocked Google Wallet, a mobile payment system, which competed with Isis, a competing mobile payment system that the three carriers each had a stake in developing.

Over the last decade or so, other cases have come up where ISPs had blocked various VoIP services, including Skype, Google Voice, and Vonage. The most notorious case was in 2012, where AT&T announced that it would disable FaceTime, a video messaging app on iPhones, unless subscribers paid additional fees.

While many of these earlier cases happened before net neutrality rules were officially in place, net neutrality enforces ISPs to keep the Internet open and transparent. The net neutrality rules were a result of these cases.

The Argument Against Net Neutrality

Myth: Net Neutrality Hurts Small Businesses
Although the argument for net neutrality is pretty simple--keep the Internet open, the argument against it is a little more complex. FCC chairman Ajit Pai (who formerly worked for Verizon) claims the rules are “heavy handed” and “all about politics.” His argument states that small internet providers were hurt by regulations. Net neutrality does prevent Internet service providers from charging more or less for different tiers of internet, capitalizing on advertising revenue and partnerships by redirecting traffic, and throttling competing services, but it also prevents smaller businesses from being excluded from a fair, open online ecosystem.

Myth: Net Neutrality is the Government Regulating the Internet
Another argument against net neutrality is that regulation always gets in the way of progress. However, the net neutrality rules aren’t crafted to regulate the Internet and how consumers use it, instead it regulates how it is delivered and how the businesses that deliver it can manipulate it. Imagine UPS prioritizing your deliveries based on the brands you buy or the stores you buy from. You’ll make decisions on what to buy and where to buy from if you knew you could get it faster. Next, imagine ordering a Samsung phone, but UPS has a partnership with Apple and swaps out your new device with an iPhone before it gets to your house. It sounds silly when put that way, but this is exactly what we’re fighting to prevent.

Myth: Tiered, Lower Cost Internet Will Benefit Low-Income Households
One of the strongest arguments against net neutrality is that enabling ISPs to create tiered Internet packages will allow more users to get access to the Internet. This sounds like a very strong point--we want to give poorer families the same opportunities and resources. The idea of an ISP coming out with a cheap, barebones broadband service designed for households who simply can’t afford or struggle to afford current plans tugs at the emotions. However, limiting the open Internet can lead to limitations of the value of the Internet itself. If lower-income households were given access to an Internet without the same perks and resources, they still miss out. These families will inevitably choose Internet packages that limit the experience, and thus limit the amount of opportunity both economically and educationally they could have otherwise. Children growing up with a limited, restricted Internet might not be able to watch tutorials on YouTube, take free online courses for programming, or gain the skills to use the Internet to reach a wider audience through marketing and social media. They won’t even know the opportunities are there because the only Internet they know is the restricted, limited tier.

There are long-term ratifications to this that we simply can’t predict, but it’s clear that there is more to gain from an open Internet.

Abandoning Net Neutrality Stonewalls Content Creators and Small Business

Let’s go back to how abandoning net neutrality affects business owners. In the example above, where Internet Service Providers could start offering a cheaper, limited Internet tier, this potentially limits small business. If a percentage of your audience dials back their Internet tier to a plan that prioritizes the ISP’s partners and agenda, this could make it harder or impossible for those users to find and engage with you. The money that you put into online marketing won’t go as far, or even have an effect on these users. Smaller businesses and content creators might not have the resources to get past all of the barriers when reaching deals with carriers to have a fair shot at getting in front of customers.

As business owners, we already pay for full access to the Internet. We likely pay other companies for services beyond just Internet access - mobile data usage, email hosting, web hosting, online marketing, VoIP, cloud storage, and the list goes on. If telecoms and ISPs prioritize the delivery of the Internet to us and our audience, we all lose.

Let’s Save Net Neutrality Together

On December 14th, the FCC will vote to abandon Net Neutrality and Title II rules. Our only hope is if congress puts a stop to it. Many members of congress have come out against the plan to end net neutrality, but many are for ending it. We need to band together and speak out.

The best way to do this is by reaching out directly to members of Congress and telling them about your concerns. By writing and calling those who can save net neutrality, we’ll help them understand that we depend on an open, transparent Internet.

Fortunately, the people behind https://www.battleforthenet.com/ make this easy. You can compose an email to Congress from the homepage, and even dial Congress members to tell them that you are concerned with the impact that killing net neutrality will have on your business.

If we all work together on this, we can help preserve the open Internet. Please, we urge you to take a few minutes out of your day to go to https://www.battleforthenet.com/ and make your voice be heard.



No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Thursday, 24 May 2018

Captcha Image

Mobile? Grab this Article!

Qr Code

Tag Cloud

Security Tip of the Week Best Practices Cloud Technology Email Privacy Hackers Malware Business Internet Business Computing Hosted Solutions Computer Microsoft Software Backup Windows 10 Ransomware IT Services Network Security Android Mobile Devices Smartphone Google User Tips Data Management Hardware Small Business Productivity Windows Browser Internet of Things App Managed IT Services Server Cloud Computing Tech Term Saving Money Gmail Data Business Continuity Phishing Managed Service Provider Remote Monitoring Encryption Facebook Office 365 Upgrade Smartphones Data Recovery Efficiency Artificial Intelligence Disaster Recovery Social Media Word IT Support Business Management Data Backup Cybersecurity Workplace Tips Productivity Innovation Infrastructure Office Tips Government IT Support Microsoft Office Spam Big Data Tip of the week Outsourced IT Communication Firewall Customer Service Passwords Managed IT Services Apple Settings IT Management Two-factor Authentication Content Filtering Robot Risk Management Antivirus Employer-Employee Relationship WiFi Chrome Data storage The Internet of Things Windows 10 Bandwidth Miscellaneous Money Vulnerability IBM Wireless Vendor Management Mobile Device Mobile Security Administration Apps VPN Customer Relationship Management Data Security VoIP Password Wi-Fi Hacking Paperless Office Mouse Virtual Private Network Server Management Network Presentation Hacker Avoiding Downtime Storage Holiday Office Telephone Systems Maintenance Hosted Solution Wireless Technology Recovery YouTube communications Website End of Support Printing Save Money Computing Virtual Reality Data loss Google Drive Business Technology Augmented Reality SaaS LiFi Safety Unified Threat Management Analytics Monitors HIPAA Scam Outlook BYOD Automation Tablet Applications Search Networking How To Modem Computer Care Humor Deep Learning Hacks Legislation Heating/Cooling Value IT service Hard Disk Drive IT Technicians Budget FCC Writing User Firefox Cookies Training sip Bring Your Own Device Automobile Comparison Buisness Servers Professional Services BDR Hotspot Mirgation Title II IT solutions Competition Retail Techology Nanotechnology telephony Best Practice Language 5G Specifications USB Google Maps Chatbots Remote Computing Online Mail Merge Cortana Social Engineering Unified Threat Management Screen Reader Business Growth Computing Infrastructure Current Events Black Friday Downtime Statistics Marketing Dongle Identity Legal Microsoft Excel Address Alt Codes IP Address User Error Cybercrime Quick Tips Smart Tech Dark Data Politics Alerts Collaboration Going Green Cyber Monday Bluetooth Knowledge Corporate Profile Blockchain Typing Mobile Office How To Printer VoIP Connectivity Document Management Tech Support Licensing File Sharing Smart Technology Hard Drives Experience WannaCry Compliance Operating System Samsung Permissions Unified Communications Network Congestion Cryptocurrency Mobile Device Management Access Control Running Cable Time Management IoT Identity Theft Websites Cooperation Distributed Denial of Service Virtual Desktop Refrigeration Cabling Regulations Public Speaking Computers Bitcoin Lithium-ion battery SharePoint Laptop Network Management Star Wars Staff Information Technology Managed IT Service Managed IT Lenovo Digital Social Networking Google Docs Display Windows 8 Downloads Halloween Touchscreen Cost Management Disaster Wearable Technology Google Wallet Fun Break Fix Undo Shortcut Superfish Spyware Motherboard Multi-Factor Security Scary Stories Application Gadgets Assessment Digital Payment Uninterrupted Power Supply Drones Chromebook Dark Web Virtualization Patch Management Router Social Google Calendar Sports Users Internet Exlporer Fraud Solid State Drive Net Neutrality Education Work/Life Balance Error Point of Sale Black Market Law Enforcement Physical Security Twitter Staffing Gadget Administrator Mobile Computing Personal Information Web Server GPS Computer Repair Cameras Processors Tracking Health Service Level Agreement CCTV Alert Electronic Medical Records Domains Emergency Travel G Suite Notifications Upgrades Supercomputer Botnet Motion Sickness Taxes Crowdsourcing 3D Printing IT Budget Machine Learning Update IT Consultant Unsupported Software Relocation Meetings CrashOverride Cleaning Mobile Data Private Cloud Webcam Emoji