This idea of the Internet a level playing field – that all data is treated the same regardless of source, destination or content – is called net neutrality. Content can’t be blocked, slowed down, sped up, or interfered with in any way. It’s all equal. For many citizens and content providers large and small, net neutrality is a sacred principle, often called the First Amendment of the Internet.
For the owners of the pipes, though – the cable companies and Internet Service Providers – and some of the largest content and tech companies, there’s money to be made, an advantage to be had, and new value and choices to be delivered to consumers if the Net were not quite so neutral.
What does it mean for business? Like everything about net neutrality, it’s not a simple question to answer. If you’re a company with some depth to your pockets, an unregulated Internet with paid premium pipes could be a huge competitive edge. Your fast-loading content will make for the best user experience, putting your competition at a disadvantage they may not be able to overcome, if they can’t also ante up for the faster pipe.
Problem of Net Neutrality.
The whole problem of net neutrality came out in the public domain when mobile operators tried to charge their subscribers who started to use calling apps such as Skype, etc. to contact people using their Internet network. To milk the existing customers, these telecom operators started to levy extra charges on calls made. As expected, there was a hue and cry from people who wanted to keep this medium free of such distortions. Everything seemed to have died down for a while. Through this paper, the telecom ombudsman sought to get suggestions from the public.
The analysts in the field tried to highlight the one-sided approach taken by the ombudsman through this consultative paper. They also highlighted the confusing statements that could in future be misinterpreted by the telecom operators to fleece the ordinary citizens in the cyber world. This would lead in the long run to the killing of creativity and the airing of independent views in the cyber world. If the power is given to the telecom operators, they can selectively offer services to people.
So what about the rest of the business world? Software-as-a-Service companies, in particular, have a lot to worry about, but they have not been very vocal in the debate. Businesses that depend on cloud applications every day have performance expectations that have to be met. If providers have to pay more to make sure their applications stay up to speed, it’s going to impact their business models – reducing profits, increasing costs to end users, or both.
The bottom line is, we already know that users start abandoning sites after waiting just four seconds for them to load. If the big competitor’s site loads faster, that’s where users are going to go. Better make sure you’re doing everything you can right now to make sure your site is a lean, mean speed machine.
Net neutrality issues refuse to die down as more and more people are getting aware of the after-effects of certain legislation being brought by Government agencies benefiting a few telecom service providers. This would kill the creativity and spontaneity in views aired in the social media. The article precisely discusses the issue for the benefit of readers.