Net Neutrality: What the FCC’s Ruling Means for Users and Businesses

Joe Reithmeier February 27, 2015

In this post, Nick Vega, IT Consultant at Miles Technologies, discusses the FCC’s approval of net neutrality rules and the impact this will have on both users and businesses.

Thursday, February 26, 2015 is a very important date for advocates of a free and open internet.  After much debate and anticipation, the FCC passed a ruling supporting net neutrality, which requires internet service providers (ISPs) to “treat all legal content equally.” Let’s take a brief look at what net neutrality means and how this ruling will impact users and businesses.

What Does Net Neutrality Mean?

Before the ruling, several ISPs including Verizon, AT&T and Comcast, were attempting to segregate the internet into a ‘fast lane’ and ‘slow lane.’ What this means is that content providers would have to pay a premium to host their content at higher speeds—speeds that are expected by their users.

If net neutrality were struck down, this would have allowed ISPs like Comcast to charge companies like Netflix, who use a great deal of bandwidth during peak hours, more money to provide content to its end users.  Due to the streaming HD quality of the movies Netflix’s customers have come to expect, Netflix would have been all but forced into paying this premium.

How Does Net Neutrality Affect Internet Users?

In the above example, if Netflix were forced to comply and pay more money to maintain the integrity of their business, where do you think that increase in price would be reflected?  Simply put – on your monthly bill.

This is just one example of how end users would suffer if the ISPs were given the ability to throttle connection speeds.  What if graphics heavy websites such as or had to pay a premium to host their content?  This could have been a dangerous road towards turning the internet into a pay-by-site service.

How Does the Net Neutrality Ruling Affect Businesses? 

There is another great benefit of today’s landmark FCC ruling that will have a lasting impact on the business climate.  Think about the costs involved in starting a new business.  Most new businesses rely on the internet to market to reach new customers and market their products and services.

If new businesses were forced to pay a higher rate to compete with established companies that have higher operating budgets, it would make it even more difficult to gain any ground. Think about it. If your small business website uses a lot of streaming video content or advertising and cannot afford to pay for the ‘fast lane’ but your larger competitor can, which website is going to provide users with a better customer experience?

As it is, approximately 50% of new businesses fail within the first four to five years.  The added cost of having to pay to provide visitors with faster streaming content—which they expect to be the norm—could make that number even higher.

The benefits of today’s net neutrality ruling extend from content providers, to end users and even upstart entrepreneurs.  Overall, this was a huge win against a restrictive practice that only would benefit those who already hold so much power.  The ability to gain information and knowledge in an instant is one of the most powerful tools we have as people.  Retaining that power is paramount in continuing to grow as individuals, businesses and society as a whole.

What are your immediate reactions to the net neutrality ruling? What do you think are some additional impacts this will have on users and businesses? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

If you have any questions about the FCC ruling and any effect it will have on your business’s information technology infrastructure, don’t hesitate to contact us today and speak with an experienced IT advisor.

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