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Why net neutrality is better for business

Small businesses should know more about net neutrality and the paid interests that would make it a thing of the past.

By Angela West
November 11, 2011 02:26 PM ET

PC World - President Obama threatened to veto a bill this week that overturns new FCC rules stating that Internet providers cannot limit lawful network traffic. On Thursday, the Senate voted the same bill down. Under the new FCC rules put into force last December, mobile broadband providers can't block applications that compete with their services. The administration's position on the rules and the bill introduced to overturn them is clearly stated here.

Basically, the new FCC rules protect consumers from having their Web traffic unfairly throttled, and keeps Internet providers from unreasonably blocking or limiting your access to websites. The rules are good for small and medium-sized business, if not for the large telecommunications companies that want them repealed. Net neutrality for an open Internet is always better for both consumers and small business.

What Is Net Neutrality and Why Should Business Care?

The concept of net neutrality holds that access to the Internet should be unrestricted by Internet service providers (ISPs) or any government regulations. As Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Massachusetts) says in the video below, the open architecture of the Internet has encouraged businesses like Google and Facebook to flourish, as well as smaller online businesses. As Sen. Al Franken (D-Minnesota) says in the same video, "This isn't just about freedom of speech; it is about protecting small businesses."

Closed Internet Could Restrict Business Access to Internet

In the current regulatory environment, if you pay an ISP for a website, it cannot upsell a service so that someone willing to pay more money can have a site that loads faster than yours. It cannot block competing websites, throttle access to small business, or otherwise restrict your Internet service.

While larger businesses may be able to dominate search engines through extensive marketing and pay-per-click ad campaigns, your small business's access to the Internet is as free and open as a major corporation's would be.

Closed Internet Could Increase Cost of Hosting

If the FCC did not step in and protect the digital rights of the consumer and small business, larger telecommunications companies would gladly increase costs according to services. For example, if PC World published an article about your company, leading your website hammered with traffic, they would love to be able to hand you a bill for the extra network traffic. Legally, they can't. Closed Internet Could Restrict Consumer Access to Your Product

Another theoretical service that ISPs could offer, if they weren't prevented from doing so, would be blocking ads from products that compete with their services.For example, if you your ISP also offered phone services, it could block websites from competing phone companies.

Originally published on www.pcworld.com. Click here to read the original story.
Reprinted with permission from PCWorld.com. Story copyright 2012 PC World Communications. All rights reserved.
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