The internet, in it’s short history, has been a great equalizer for small businesses. Small businesses are free to put up websites that promote their business, sell their products, services and applications and are assured that their information is served to the consumer in the same way that everyone else’s content is served. It gives all businesses the possibility to attract a worldwide market. Many of today’s internet giants–think Google, Yahoo, E-bay–started out as small businesses with great ideas. Because their ideas were allowed to be served to the public in a fair way, they were able to develop into highly successful businesses.
Some of the major network operators are trying to change that. They want to set up a tiered payment system for content providers. Theoretically, the premium fee would ensure the fastest download speeds. And lesser rates would result in slower websites. What does that mean? Network providers could decide what content is shown on their networks and at what price. Suppose AT&T decided they wanted to expand their web hosting business. They could effectively eliminate the reach of web hosting competitors’ sites by raising their rates or slowing the delivery of their material to an unpalatable crawl.
Given the fact that there are actually very few network providers in the US — especially in rural parts of the country — shouldn’t we be trying to ensure that everyone has access to all information on the internet no matter what network they can access. In some parts of the country consumers may only have broadband access through one provider. Even in populated areas the choice is usually limited to the phone company or cable provider for the area. Shouldn’t we ensure that your website is as accessible to everyone as your competitor’s website?
Do we really want want big business deciding what is available on the internet? If not, we need to ensure that net neutrality remains in effect. Please support the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009.