Net neutrality impacts your business!

When it comes to the Internet, despite the efforts of some very power players, I believe things are  quickly trending toward the people getting what they want, and the people want to pick and choose the services they want/need while not being forced into paying for what they don't need!  At home, many of us are already "cord cutters", choosing to get our local TV channels with over the air antennas and stream the rest of our programming from the sources we choose.  We want our Internet provider to be our "Internet provider" giving us reliable access to the Internet and the 3rd party services of our choice, not a proprietary link to the content of the provider's choice.  I think most people (at least I know I am) are more than willing to pay a reasonable price for this access.  What we don't want from our Internet provider is to place  limits on our options, either by providing faster lanes for some content and slower lanes for others based on the money they are making on the back end, or possibly by actually blocking certain providers in the future.  In other words, we want net neutrality from our provider.

If you agree with these statements when considering your home Internet, you should also consider what impact a lack of net neutrality could have on your business.  Small and medium size businesses now have access to affordable VoIP, unified communications, hosted PBX, and other "cloud based" technologies that offer features and productivity gains that they could only dream about in the past.  The development of these technologies has pushed the boundaries of what a small organization with a "small company" budget can accomplish and how quickly they can grow.  If Internet providers that serve businesses are allowed to give preferential treatment to the third party providers of their choice (or even their own brands) innovation will surely suffer.  Normally I am not a big fan of government regulation, but as regulations and oversight already have already helped create limited competition within the Industry, I believe when it comes to net neutrality, we now need a reasonable amount of oversight applied to the major carriers who enjoy that limited competition. .  That said, if you have several Internet access options of comparable price and bandwidth, are you going to choose the one that limits your options or the one that allows you to choose?  Here in Charlotte, N.C. Google Fiber just announced they are coming to town, we have had similar announcements from Time Warner and AT&T about our market being targeted for new bigger bandwidth offerings.  My fingers are crossed, hoping that increased competition in our area coupled with some government oversight will result in local business getting what it wants and needs, unfettered access to the Internet and the innovations that come with it.

Richard Hill has worked in the telecommunications field for over 25 years, 20 of those as the President and owner of SafeCall, a Charlotte, NC based company offering "cloud based" business telephone systems, premise based systems, and carrier consulting.