Will net neutrality repeal kill the next YouTube?

How the repeal of net neutrality could throttle digital startups and IoT

In a move that sent shockwaves around the world, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted in December to repeal the net neutrality laws that kept the internet open and free, opening the door for service providers to effectively throttle certain content and decide who can access what and how. While appeals are likely and the battle continues, the question of what this means for business becomes even more crucial.

Concerns about net neutrality laws, which force Internet service providers (ISPs) to treat all data online the same and not charge differently for types of content or other elements, have centered on consumer access. But depending on how ISPs react to the move the consequences could be significant – especially for smaller businesses.

Will this kill innovation and stifle competition?

For many, the core impact could be to stifle innovation and competition. The startup ecosystem, for example, could be hampered as a result of privileging certain traffic or websites over others. Mehdi Daoudi, CEO of Catchpoint, a New York City-based digital experience monitoring (DEM) company, says his main concern is that startups will not be able to compete with the much faster load times of large companies.

“Net neutrality provided a level playing field for any site’s ability to deliver superior performance – fast loading, reliability – which allows them to attract and retain users. Now any new service, which does not have the resources to afford CDNs or other techniques to compensate for throttling, will be at an automatic disadvantage in a world where everyone expects lightning-fast load times,” Daoudi said.

He believes that if net neutrality did not exist 10 or 15 years ago, we might never have heard of YouTube, Facebook, or any of the other innovators that created the internet landscape as we know it. “Do we really want to create a system in which the next YouTube is killed before it ever gets a chance?”

Giancarlo Di Vece, president of Unosquare, a global software engineering company, said that, as with every decision, this one is a mixed bag, although he said he's having a hard time coming up with positive outcomes for the public. 

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