Do you like having equal access to the internet?
Are you a small business, content creator or artist?
Would you like to pay $50 dollars a month to access social media or $10 a week to access Google?
Does giving your internet service provider more money so they can carve the internet into fast and slow lanes-essentially pricing mid and small sized content producers out of the market-sound good to you?
If not then you need to start paying attention to the fight over Net Neutrality.
Because come December 14th, 2017 the internet as we know it could look a whole lot different.
What is Net Neutrality?
In 2015 the FCC passed regulations classifying internet services as a public utility ensuring consumers equal access to all content on the internet. The regulations prevent Internet service providers like Verizon or Comcast from favoring content they produce or charging content producers more to get what they produce in front of customers at faster speeds.
The new FCC chairman and former Verizon lawyer, Ajit Pai wants to change this arguing that rolling back these regulations would spur investment in infrastructure, a claim often repeated by the giant lobbying firms for the major ISPs but lacking any substantiation in real life.
What does this mean for SEO?
Essentially content and quality will mean nothing and you’ll have to pay for access and speed.
You’ll still have to optimize your website for SEO but now there is a good chance you’ll also have to pay for your website to reach customers faster. This will favor large content producers i.e. large corporations who can afford to shell out the cash for ISPs to favor their content.
The age of the internet entrepreneur may cease to exist as we know it. A reversal will undoubtedly damage small businesses and solopreneurs, who will be forced to pay for better access and won’t be able to afford the monthly service fees required to reach the same number of customers and potential clients they can reach now with equal access.
Essentially big providers like, Comcast, rake in a ton of cash by collecting fees from both subscribers and websites trying to reach subscribers at faster speeds.
This is the scenario that’s on the horizon. If the FCC passes its reversal to Net Neutrality in December you could be paying for access to your favorite websites and social media platforms as soon as January.
But even people within the Federal Communications Commission think it’s a bad idea, in a LA Times Op-Ed FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said, “wiping out net neutrality would have big consequences. Without it, your broadband provide could carve internet access into fast and slow lanes, favoring the traffic of online platforms that have made special payments and consigning all others to a bumpy road.”
What You Can Do About It?
At this point things aren’t looking good, Ajit Pai is hell bent on repealing Net Neutrality and ramming deregulation down your throat.
Despite overwhelming feedback from the public and major tech companies. Pai feels obligated to give a kickback to his former employer and probably stands to earn handsomely once Net Neutrality is repealed.
While the outlook is bleak there are still things you can do. If you like having equal access to the internet call your congressman, then go to https://www.savetheinternet.com sign the petition and show up December 7th, 2017 at your local Verizon store and join the protest.
And even if it does pass the fight is not over, the more people join the cause, the more chance there is of keeping the internet free. Make your voice heard.