by Ray Hayes

When it comes to the internet, net neutrality has been one of the biggest debates in modern history.  For those unaware, according to wikipedia, net neutrality is “is the principle that Internet service providers treat all data on the Internet equally, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication.”

A great example of this comes from when they mention how important internet speed can be for small businesses. “Imagine if the electric company could choose to provide better electrical service to companies that paid them a hefty fee and spotty electricity to those that don’t. It would stifle competition from smaller companies and innovative entrepreneurs. That’s what the repeal of net neutrality is going to allow.”

Almost a quarter of small business owners who were surveyed by a group of Small Business Majority stated that net neutrality is important to their everyday activities. With net neutrality gone, many companies’ ISPs may start to charge more for tiered offerings meaning that you have to pay to make sure your site loads up just as quick and productive as any other site.

This could mean a massive loss of visitors to your website. Google reported that visitors who have to wait three seconds or longer for a sit to load up are 53 percent more likely to abandon their search.

The end of neutrality will ultimately change the amount you pay for Internet access. Large companies will now be in control of our Internet access which could result in many US citizens paying for slow Internet access than people aboard.

Evan Greer of Fight for the Future, an open-internet advocacy group, spoke about how net neutrality will affect small businesses.  “Repealing net neutrality amounts to a tax on small businesses that they just can’t afford. It allows the largest, most powerful companies to squash their competition by cutting competitive deals with big ISPs, who will become the gatekeepers of the free market, picking and choosing which businesses succeed and which ones fail. This doesn’t just impact high tech businesses — in 2018 every business needs to be online. Every small business owner should be up in arms.”