On December 14 the Federal Communications Commission will almost certainly be voting in favor of doing away with net neutrality. If you’re not familiar with net neutrality, check out this article we wrote earlier this year on the topic. It is the idea of a free and open Internet. As it stands right now, users are able to access the Internet freely, with no speed or data caps regardless of the websites they visit. If the plan the FCC is proposing passes (and it probably will in a three versus two vote), the Internet as we know it may well be on its way out.
For photographers who own a professional photography business (and for any small business for that matter), this is bad news. It means that in the future, small businesses may be forced to pay ISPs (Internet service providers) so that potential clients are able to access our websites or portfolios as efficiently as the websites of our competitors who may have more money to give to ISPs to favor their websites. ISPs will be allowed to create “fast lanes” for those with the deepest pockets. And as any professional knows, website speed matters to consumers and consumers are notorious for having extremely short attention spans.
Beyond website speeds, videographers and photographers who advertise using videos may suffer as well. ISPs could potentially choose to throttle websites like YouTube or Vimeo based on what companies own which websites and who might be willing to pay more for better access. It's all a mess.
This has been an ongoing talk since regulations were put in place in 2015 to protect consumers by having a neutral Internet. What is different now is the FCC has a chairman who has been staunchly opposed to net neutrality. He argues that the regulations put in place in 2015 were flawed and by abolishing net neutrality, the Internet will be a free marketplace for businesses and that all consumers and companies will have different options to choose from based on their needs. He also promises that ISPs will have to be transparent with whom they choose to throttle or give preference to with “fast lanes”. In essence, this is the only rule for ISPs in the new FCC proposal. They can throttle whoever they want so long as they’re transparent about it. Perhaps if consumers had more options to choose from in regards to what ISPs to use to access the Internet, this may be a viable plan, but as it is right now, with so few ISPs to choose from, and that stand with much more money and power than smaller companies, net neutrality is certainly doomed.
If you stand for net neutrality, please visit battleforthenet.com, enter your phone number and call your congressperson. Urge them to do the right thing and oppose the FCC’s new proposal.
Lead image by pixabay.com via Pexels.