Kiss the Internet Goodbye

verizon2Internet service providers can now legally block your website from showing up unless you pay them an extra fee. They can also charge you more, based on how much data you use… and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

This month a federal appeals court struck down what is commonly known as net neutrality in Verizon vs the Federal Communication Commission. What effect will that have on your business in concrete terms?

This is concerning to companies who create or distribute video on the web because of the large bandwidth. However, with about 90 percent of all home internet traffic now being video, it should also be a concern to businesses and home users who also distribute and consume video. That doesn’t really leave anyone out.

Video and use of bandwidth is just part of the equation.

“consumers will have more choices to determine for themselves how they access and experience the Internet”

In a statement, Verizon Wireless said the decision would “allow more room for innovation, and consumers will have more choices to determine for themselves how they access and experience the Internet. Verizon has been and remains committed to the open Internet that provides consumers with competitive choices and unblocked access to lawful websites and content when, where, and how they want.”

It would seem the ruling to allow internet providers to control and limit  consumer’s content is quite literally the opposite of free choice.

Internet providers and online companies had already started to control online information. Take Google Maps for example. When a user searches for a specific service, Google doesn’t bring up all the businesses that offer that service. Instead, they only show businesses that have either directly registered with Google or who are advertising with Google. You can instead search for a specific company name or web address, but now, that option can be blocked as well.

Verizon and other service providers may now prevent customers and competitors from seeing specific websites for any number of reasons, for example, if business is not paying Verizon an advertising fee. Or Verizon may require a customer to purchase a higher tier of service with fewer limits on the number of webpages or data they view in a day, week or month. A business may have to pay a higher premium to even show up at all under a given domain name. Or, if a website is popular, it might have to pay extra for customers to view it.

The internet will become more like a cable TV station, where you don’t really have a choice of what you see, you only see what is in the service provider’s program line up. It would be more like looking at the MSN Internet or the Verizon Internet.

Internet providers can also block out competitors. For example, Comcast can now block Netflix. More likely, they will just charge Netflix more to stream content. So, expect your internet streaming service fees to rise in the near future.

Ironically, the US internet experience may now become more like China or Iran, only it will be businesses instead of government limiting what you see and how you see it. But then again, have we already started down that road?

As invasive as the NSA’s extensive information gathering has been, Google is far more invasive. After all, every service they offer – search engine, web browser, Android OS, inexpensive tablets, phones, email, wearable electronics, driverless cars, Google Maps, free phone numbers, free voice services, Google Wallet, etc. – are all focused on one simple business goal: harvesting your personal information to make a profit.

However, others like Clyde Wayne Crews Jr., Forbes, believe this is the Internet 3.0, the way of things to come.

It appears the majority of users and businesses oppose Verizon, agreeing that unrestricted internet access is essential to a free and open market. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is considering appealing the decision, which greatly weakens the FCC’s authority over all.

Jennifer Yeh, of freepress.net points out that the court’s ruling is based on certain missteps the FCC has take in the past by regulating the internet on a shaky legal structure.

“power to protect the open Internet may be in jeopardy”

The FCC’s “power to protect the open Internet may be in jeopardy,” Says Yeh. “Yet as this decision signals, the Commission can correct its missteps and treat broadband as a telecommunications service subject to Title II common carrier obligations.”

Perhaps Verizon has free market capitalism and it’s customers in mind, or perhaps, as factories who use child workers, internet providers are only interested in free market capitalism as it benefits themselves at the expense of others.

What do you think? How could the court’s decision effect your business or organization? Will you take action for or against net neutrality? Is limiting your access to the internet good for your business? Post your comments below.