Protect Innovation and Choice in the Marketplace.
The free and open internet has been a boon to small businesses and consumers alike, a framework that has allowed for greater competition, innovation, and choice in the marketplace. It goes without saying that we at Rosie’s Creative wouldn’t be where we are today without this framework in place… and the same goes for many of our clients and business partners.
So, it’s with great alarm that we’ve kept an eye on recent developments involving the issue of net neutrality. Maybe you’ve heard this phrase in the news recently, but you’re not familiar with the concept, or don’t see how it connects to your business. So, let’s go over the basics.
First, we should note that yes, the net neutrality issue has become increasingly entangled in party politics as of late, an unfortunate turn of events that results in sober discussion being overwhelmed by emotionally charged rhetoric. Here at Rosie’s Creative, we’re not interested in telling you how to vote. But we do think you deserve the facts about some big, fundamental changes to the Internet that could be just over the horizon. It doesn’t matter which party you support – you need to know what’s coming, and how it could impact your business.
Central to the debate over net neutrality is the question of whether the infrastructure of the Internet ought to be regulated like a public utility – and whether the small number of huge corporations that exert increasing control over that infrastructure should be required to give equal, unencumbered access to all forms of lawful content. Under the current rules, the Web is a balanced playing field, with ISPs prohibited from doing things like blocking access, reducing speeds, or charging more for certain types of content.
However, new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has proposed rolling back these protections, which would leave no legal barrier to ISPs discriminating against content in any way, or for any reason, they see fit. Big telecom providers like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon would be allowed to give preferential treatment to their own products and services while throttling or blocking competitors, or create “fast lanes” for businesses with the ability to pay high premiums for faster network speeds. Put simply, the changes now being considered would give these telecom behemoths free reign to deal a critical blow to the sustainability of small businesses like yours.
In August, the American Sustainable Business Council published an open letter on behalf of over 500 small businesses across the country, urging Chairman Pai to keep the current net neutrality rules in place. They argue that weakening the existing safeguards “would create immense uncertainty for companies in every sector of the economy,” and be “disastrous” for American businesses.
The FCC has scheduled a vote on December 14 to decide whether Chairman Pai’s proposals will become official policy. If you want to make your voice heard in this matter, you can start by contacting your representatives in Congress to make your priorities clear, and to see where they stand. To find your representative, please visit: https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials