Let me first explain in simple terms what net neutrality is and then analyze the impact on small businesses. Imagine a typical single lane road. Unless it is an emergency vehicle, whether an individual is driving a Ford Focus or Porsche, they don’t get to drive faster. Now, have you seen those highways in some states, like Florida, where certain lanes are reserved (particularly during peak hours) to vehicles that have opted to pay extra for the privilege to drive in them. A lot of people supported the idea that the Internet should be a level playing field allowing everyone the same privileges. So the blog of Jay Dwivedi loads up at the same rate as that of Hulu.
Under a recent court ruling, though, a company can pay extra to let its traffic move faster and ahead of others. So giant corporations can pay more to let their content load better and faster. Okay, fine, but not really if you are a small business owner trying to bring visitors to your website or ecommerce shop. If your website takes longer to load, not only will your visitors be upset and leave, search engines like Google will punish you for slow load times.
The only good news is that you will not notice the impact right away because of some very complicated situations. Also, things may not evolve in a straightforward manner. I am also hoping that website hosting companies like GoDaddy may offer packages for small businesses to speed up their websites, so that the only people who will be truly affected are people like my 15-year nephew who blogs about his hobby to document all the pandas born worldwide.