On January 14, 2014, a Federal appeals court ruled against the FCC’s 2010 Open Internet Order, also known as net neutrality. Specifically, the court struck down portions prohibiting Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from discriminating or blocking legal content, services, applications, devices, or traffic on the Web.
For those who aren’t unfamiliar with it, net neutrality can be a complicated and complex topic to understand. Lexicon has done some research to try to explain net neutrality and the implication of the court’s decision for our readers. Here are the basics, as we understand them:
The Internet With Net Neutrality
Before net neutrality was stuck down, ISPs were required to give equal treatment to all legal traffic and information on the Web. Content providers paid the same fees, and ISPs couldn’t prioritize the delivery of information.
The Internet Without Net Neutrality
Now ISPs can have control over content delivery, choosing the speed of delivery, the quality of service, and the rates charged for different levels of delivery. Many people are comparing this new model to cable television. Like cable companies, ISPs could ultimately choose which sites they’ll provide service to, and even which devices they’ll be compatible with.
What does this mean for small businesses?
The ruling could have an effect on consumers and companies alike. For small businesses with limited budgets, it might mean slower and lower-quality service compared to bigger competitors, and both of which could translate to less traffic.
However, the court’s ruling against net neutrality isn’t set in stone. The FCC could still exercise some authority over ISPs if it chooses to “reclassify broadband.” Only time will reveal how it all plays out.
Meanwhile, we encourage our readers to do their own research into the matter. And if you’re feeling ambitious, you could even read through the court’s official net neutrality ruling.
Lexicon is an award-winning firm in Des Moines, Iowa, that specializes in content marketing.