Saturday, July 29, 2006

Net Neutrality

There's a lot of joy to running a small business, plus occasional frustrations.

Take Network Neutrality, for example. Right now Congress is mulling changes to the Telecommunications Act that would take away the Internet's level playing field. If this happens, small businesses like mine could suffer greatly. In fact, anyone who does business over the Internet--that includes you, if you buy from web sites, download music, or use search engines--could be hurt.

Put simply, today's Internet lets you look at and utilize any site you want, from this blog, to the Beau Ties web site, to national magazines, to government information. The speed and access are the same for them all. If Network Neutrality is threatened or lost, network providers could forseeably control the content you are able to get through your Internet connection. They might be able to charge web sites high fees to provide faster loading speeds, or to work properly on their network. The highest bidders' sites would be easiest and most reliable to access.

Needless to say, it's a cause for concern for small business owners who do business over the Net. How could a small business like mine compete with a huge cataloger if access wasn't equal? Where would we come up with the fees that might be required to get the same Internet presence as a large international company or Fortune 500 retailer?

I am keeping tabs on this issue and hope you will, too. There's a great deal of information and comprehensive explanations of this subject at if you are interested in learning more. (Countless other web sites are discussing the issue, too, but I find this one to be the most helpful.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great post, Bill. You're right on about the dangers of this legislation.

-Algernon in L.A. (looking forward to the arrival of his Tahiti tie, from your private stock)