Net Neutrality and your company’s bottom line

Net Neutrality and your company’s bottom line

On December 14, 2017, the FCC repealed a set of laws that safe-guarded Net Neutrality in the U.S. Are you aware of the implications for your organization? Regardless of your industry – retail, agriculture, or even healthcare – and regardless of your location, you will be impacted by this ruling. 

Net Neutrality is the term used to describe an internet in which internet service providers (ISPs) are not allowed to block or throttle (slow down) individual websites, nor are they allowed to provide fast prioritized lanes for additional costs.

For a more detailed definition, and details, download the exclusive, free, eBook Net Neutrality: A guide for Canadian Enterprises.

In an interview with Cascades Insights, Ryan Singel, CEO of Contextly, an online content platform, argues that the Net Neutrality repeal will impact the bottom line for any enterprise or organization that uses online tools.

Singel points out that startups will require more funding to remain visible, so they will seek outside funding at earlier stages than they currently do. Investors will put more money in, and they’ll want more equity. Startups will make more conservative and less innovative choices to keep investors happy. This will also mean that online service will be more expensive, as investors will want to see a return.

Singel also points out that many startups use tools from other startups, so an increased cost to create those start-up softwares, and use this, in turn drives up the cost of innovation.  “We’re going to have more limited choice, and the choices that were there are going to be more expensive,” says Singel. “It’s a radical flipping of the model we’ve had for the last 20 years where … you don’t need a ton of money to get things out there [and] get your first customers.”

The model we use at Axia is based on the idea that the internet is there to be used equally by all users. Axia’s business model, from its inception, has been Net Neutral to the core. We believe that every Canadian individual, enterprise, and institution should have access to choice when it comes to internet access, infrastructure, and services. Other providers don’t share our beliefs. So we are crusaders for a superior choice, regarding ourselves not as a sales organization, but as revolutionary enablers of commerce.

Net Neutrality and retail

In The Repeal of Net Neutrality and the Impact on eCommerce, Mikhala Lantz-Simons of Absolutenet argues that ISPs will likely establish fast lanes that will either lead browsers directly to the ISP’s own content or to that of partners who have paid for prioritization.

Enterprises that don’t pay for prioritization may start losing business to large corporations who can afford the extra expense. Even enterprises that do not sell directly online may be affected, as their visibility could decline.

Net Neutrality and agriculture

Jason Ward at Precision Agriculture argues that Net Neutrality is important to “those of us who believe that the internet has made farming better.” In Net Neutrality in the Age of Digital Farming Ward notes that agri-businesses require data from multiple sources such as weather stations, sensors, telemetry from machines, and soil maps. For farmers to use this data effectively, it has to flow through to the internet.

An increasing amount of agricultural data is visual, which takes up a lot of bandwidth. This data is often used in an aggregate, i.e. Big Data, to formulate solutions for increased yields and operational efficiency.  Farmers needing to upload large data sets are faced with the choice of paying higher rates or not enjoying the benefits of digital tools.

Farmers in rural Alberta where 16,000 kilometres of fibre optic cable is available from Axia currently enjoy the benefits of the most neutral internet in the world. Will they see a slowing down of U.S.-owned online tools if Net Neutrality fails?

Net Neutrality and health care

Net Neutrality could negatively impact telemedicine, the use of video conferencing to diagnose and assist patients.

According to Mark Gaynor, Associate Professor of Health Management at Saint Louis University, quoted in Now that Net Neutrality is dead, the question is: Will it help healthcare?  Providers are “going to have to pay for speed. And we know that cost will be passed to the patient.”

Alberta has one of the largest telehealth networks in North America with more than 900 video conferencing units set up. Net Neutrality is vital to keeping that system going.

If your organization uses the internet at all, chances are Net Neutrality will touch it. Put simply, Net Neutrality enforces that enterprises play fair to ensure consumers and enterprises get the choice they deserve. After all, everyone’s ability to access data and services online should be considered equal.

Your best defence is to stay informed. Start with downloading our free ebook, Net Neutrality: A guide for Canadian Enterprises