For the last year or so, ‘net neutrality’ has been a hot topic in the politics of first world countries worldwide. It’s a concept which could change the way we use the internet completely. As a free platform of information, the internet has completely transformed the manner in which we work, buy, sell, and interact with others. It has accelerated our progress and revolutionised the way we consume data. For the first time, this endless access to material could be impeded. Here’s what you need to know about how net neutrality, and what could happen to your business if the policies surrounding it change.

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Firstly, what is net neutrality?

Net neutrality is the concept of data being distributed, sent and received on a completely neutral basis. This means no matter who produces the data, what the data consists of, or how many people consume it, all network traffic must be treated fairly by the internet service provider. This creates a level playing field for websites to compete on. A larger website may have a better marketing strategy, but a smaller website is just as quick and easy to access. This is what enabled Facebook to outrank MySpace all those years ago, for instance, and what stops larger competitors from blocking your business. Net neutrality means an equally accessible internet for all.

What changes if net neutrality is rejected?

If net neutrality is rejected, ISPs will be able to alter how quickly and easily data is transferred, and even place limits on who can send or receive it. Theoretically, this means ISPs are in total control of how the internet is accessed. Some critics suggest the likelihood of a ‘slow lane’ and ‘fast lane’ model for internet access, meaning larger companies will be forced to pay the premium for faster website speeds- in turn leaving smaller businesses, who can’t afford the faster access, in the dust. ISPs would be able to show favour to certain companies they are affiliated with, speeding up partner companies and slowing down rival websites. Furthermore, if ISPs opt for an internet access model similar to cable TV, whereby you get access to different channels dependent on the package you buy, smaller websites may be cut off from certain customers entirely.

Oh no! Is my business doomed?

Obviously, the move away from net neutrality might leave you concerned about your business’s online presence, and it’s certainly something we all need to be aware of. The European Union has only very recently put this to the vote, however, and nothing is set in stone. As the avid internet and technology consumers we are, it’s our job to watch this space and use our voice to shape the future climate of the internet.  The 848 Group has seen unbelievable advancement in the 5 years we’ve been around, and we’re ready to take on whatever may come.