On December 14, the Federal Communications Commission will vote to repeal regulations that protect net neutrality.
Today, the FCC classifies broadband provision as a telecommunication service, a designation that gives the FCC the ability to enforce net neutrality. This week, the broadband service offered by last-mile ISPs is likely to be reclassified, allowing ISPs to provide “fast lanes” for preferred content and to block network traffic as they see fit.
Liquid Web opposes the end of regulated net neutrality. It’s bad for our clients, who will almost certainly have to pay more to reach customers and users. It’s bad for innovation and the online economy. And it’s bad for the web. Liquid Web is on the side of small businesses and innovation. We focus on businesses dependent on the web who need an online presence to succeed. In order for our customers to succeed they need access to equal internet. The only beneficiaries are the ISPs, who will be able to charge businesses for something that has already been paid for by consumers. ISP’s would also have control to block certain content or reject any mobile apps as they please.
The internet is a network of networks. Last-mile ISPs connect our homes and businesses to the large bandwidth providers that form the backbone of the internet. The ISP’s customers pay for that service. Liquid Web clients pay us for bandwidth, and we pay our bandwidth providers so that we can send traffic across their networks to the networks of ISPs and to ordinary consumers.
Without enforced net neutrality, there is a considerable risk that ISPs will seek to be paid twice for the same service: ISP customers will pay for their connection to the internet, and businesses who want to reach those customers will be forced to pay for privileged access. Established web service providers like Netflix and Facebook will do deals with ISPs so that their content is delivered over a “fast lane” or isn’t counted against bandwidth caps (so-called zero rating).
The picture is further muddied by the fact that ISPs are owned by companies that also own content distribution platforms. The end of net neutrality regulations will allow ISPs to prioritize their own platforms to the detriment of the competition.
Those who aren’t in a position to do a deal — startups, smaller eCommerce stores, and publishers — won’t be able to provide the best possible service. They may pay more for bandwidth while their users and customers suffer from increased latency and reduced performance.
We associate innovation and freedom with the web, but without net neutrality, it will be harder for the next generation of innovators to disrupt incumbent giants and for smaller businesses to compete on a level playing field.
If the principle of net neutrality is abandoned, the cost of doing business on the web will inevitably increase and our customers will not have access to equal internet, which is something we are fighting against for our customers.
What Can Liquid Web Clients Do Today?
There is still time to make your voice heard.
Contact your local representative to register your support for regulated net neutrality.