Net Neutrality is an issue that can significantly affect SEO and web marketing, but is it badly overlooked by the industry. However, with the US Justice Department issuing a filing against Net Neutrality, this becomes big news for SEO consultants, web marketers and even bloggers.
Net Neutrality Made Easy
At its core, Net Neutrality is the concept that ISPs (Internet Service Providers) must allow traffic to travel across their network freely; that every site and application should be treated equally and not subjected to throttling and traffic shaping. Now imagine a world in which ISPs not only provide customers with access to the Internet, but also decide which pages, images and videos they can see. This is the web without Net Neutrality.
What is Non-Neutrality?
In fact, non-neutrality gives ISPs the right to affect the cost of doing business for any person with a website. Of course, many ISPs are more than happy to support this concept. If this becomes a reality, they can charge their customers much more for their services. But when it comes to SEO and web marketing, they will be priced out of the market by those ISPs who also offer ecommerce, marketing, and web design services. That’s why it matters.
Why Should You Care About Net Neutrality?
Net Neutrality allows websites to compete with each other on equal terms, and equally serve all clients they can reach. It means more companies can create a website, and get the same access to an audience as everyone else. And competition means a huge demand for quality web marketing services. Additionally, Net Neutrality doesn’t give any competitive advantage to big, prosperous companies. These companies don’t worry about the issue of non-net neutrality because, in that scenario, they would be more able to pay ISPs to make sure their websites are accessible to everyone. But smaller companies will struggle to get equal access to the web if non-neutrality becomes real.
Low costs for start-ups
Nowadays, when you start up a website, you don’t need to pay any additional fees to ISPs. You will get a high-speed, good-access website because net-neutrality guarantees it.
Talent and quality come first
Net Neutrality allows companies of all sizes to focus on their products, services and marketing strategies, instead of trying to get the best-access to their website. And still, those with more money and influence often have competitive advantage. With non-neutrality, they will get even more advantage over smaller companies.
What If Non-Neutrality Becomes Real?
Fast lanes refer to services and companies that would get better (and faster) access to the web. Others would either have a slower website or won’t be allowed at all on some ISPs.
Free and paid access by ISPs
There would be ISPs that provide free and paid services. And those companies who paid ISPs would enjoy more features, get faster websites, and so on. It means some companies will get access to certain parts of the web while others won’t.
Most likely, websites will have to payoff ISPs to get full access to the web, while users will also have to pay to ISPs in order to get fast access to the Internet.
Can this really happen?
Today, the new Trump administration doesn’t support net neutrality, and is searching for ways to overturn 2015 regulations. For example, the new FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, told reporters that he supports the free and open Internet, but disagreed with the previous administration’s attempt to regulate ISPs like traditional utilities. He also said that FCC was closing an investigation into services offered by two major ISPs – AT&T and Verizon. According to the investigation, these two providers violated the Net Neutrality principles by counting some data against monthly limits without offering this service to competitors, such as Sling TV.
Supporters of Net Neutrality say rejecting its guidelines will give ISPs so much power that they will be able to pick and choose winners and losers. As for now, the future of the open Internet as we know it is at stake.