The negative hype surrounding the FCC repeal of 2015 Net Neutrality rules is politically driven. Advocates of the Obama-era rules have an amplified voice at the moment, and for all concerned consumers, your feelings of uncertainty surrounding the future of the Internet is 100% appreciated, respected and shared.
Given that everyone has a shared love and passion for Internet freedom, it is important to point out that these developments, regardless of the negative and politically motivated hype, are actually a positive change that will lead to increased innovation and competitiveness for all businesses, large, medium, and with the most added benefit, small.
First, let's first point out that the majority of the negative hype is being created by Net Neutrality supporters, meaning those with a stake in the implementation of these now repealed rules. This negative hype has understandably created concern amongst the rest of us consumers and small businesses. It is now time that we focus on this topic and realize it is a positive, and from a business perspective, the resulting moves we make right now represent a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as significant as the creation of the Internet.
Second, let's get a bit of historical context from the perspective of e-commerce and web presence. As an advocate for acceptance of differing views and for the Internet being a place to use knowledge and technology to start and grow a small business, I'll start this with a question.
Here's the question:
What has happened over the past few years? Has the Internet become a better or worse place for small business?
Here's my answer:
Worse, but still better in many ways.
Let's start with the better. The Internet is better for obvious reasons. It's better because it is inevitably growing, because over the past few decades businesses have transitioned their operations towards the Internet and e-commerce, and web presence is now a priority. With this comes growth through innovation, increased cash flow and investment opportunities, and this continued transition is the key driver behind the worldwide adoption of the Internet by businesses and consumers. This continued upswing is unstoppable.
OK, now let's talk about the worse. With the inevitably unstoppable upswing that will continue with the Internet and adoption of new technology, it's easy to miss this part. In fact, missing the fact that the Internet has become a more complex and difficult place to operate is a key supporting factor of the negative hype surrounding the recent de-regulation. An open and free Internet is what has allowed for the creation of the many great businesses, ideas, jobs and opportunities of the past few decades.
This openness and freedom has declined over the years, and while innovation naturally remains, it has still been relatively limited due to over-regulation. This environment favors the largest of companies. The rise of the largest of companies has led to algorithms, filters and other practices that decrease the potential organic growth of the consumers and small businesses that increasingly rely on them. Regardless of the negative hype surrounding this repeal, the Internet was already challenged, and smaller companies working to break out are at a growing disadvantage to larger competitors.
This environment has consolidated innovation to the largest of companies with the resources to navigate the highly regulated Internet environment. As we are aware based on the many Internet success stories, most of the greatest ideas were originated by the smallest of companies. And this is the exact reason why innovation has been limited as the Internet has "matured" to present day. No matter how much we depend on technology and how much it has improved our lives, I am making the argument that more could have been accomplished in a less regulated environment.
This repeal is going to make the Internet a more thriving and free place to create opportunity, and more consumers and businesses will flourish in ways including but not limited to the following:
1-Cheaper & Faster Internet Options: This is a tremendous benefit to worried consumers, this repeal will make your Internet faster and more affordable. This will help small businesses and consumers of all income levels, but especially low income consumers, who will now have options they can afford. This will allow for broader Internet availability, increased usage and more innovation. Many ideas will be launched by those who are at the moment unable to afford Internet access.
2-Improved Email Delivery: This repeal paves the way for broader, improved email delivery for email marketers and small businesses. With the constant challenges faced by businesses investing in email marketing to reach their customers, from spam filters to category tabs and all the other monopolistic activities that control the delivery of messages, this is a great development. Expect lower prices, more options, new products, improved delivery and increased return on investment in the email marketing space.
3-A New Normal For Social Media: This repeal paves the way for a return to the social media environment of the past, one of positivity and opportunity. Prior to this repeal, as I have discussed at great length, social media has become increasingly difficult for small businesses from a cost and reach perspective. In a world where most small businesses can't afford to make regular paid ad buys, there can be a sigh of relief that the pendulum is finally preparing to swing back in the other direction. This trend will help small business return on investment over time. Expect more competition and options to reach your audience in the social media space.
4-Less Monopolistic Behavior: The Internet that has come to be dominated by what are now some of the largest and most powerful companies in the world will become more competitive as this repeal paves the way for lower barriers to entry, restoring much of the opportunity that made the Internet great in the first place. For consumers, your purchasing power will grow significantly as more options and decreased prices are made available. For businesses, this creates a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to expand or launch. This will require the largest of companies to work harder for your continued loyalty, and this will allow the smallest of companies to have a fair chance at success.
In conclusion, this negative hype is being caused by a name that sounds like it is preserving some sort of Internet freedom by it's largest advocates, originators and stakeholders. Once you look beyond the negative hype and consider the possibilities, we can all hopefully stop worrying and start preparing for the many opportunities that are being created as a result of eliminating the heavy-handed framework and returning to the traditional light-touch framework.