Net neutrality has been a heated topic across the internet over the last several months. Several bills have been proposed that would preserve net neutrality, but none have been passed.
What is net neutrality? Well, net neutrality is the “principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.” Basically, one website can’t be favored over another in terms of speed or accessibility just because they paid for it.
Typically, when this topic is discussed, proponents of net neutrality mention how consumers will not be given equal access to internet content such as streaming services unless the website or the consumer pays for it. They argue that smaller websites who cannot pay outrageous fees to keep their content accessible will fail. Freedom of internet speech will be given only to large corporations with enough money to pay for it. This is true, but not the only problem. All small businesses, not only those in entertainment, will be hurt if the internet is not kept open and accessible.
Smaller marketing firms, and by extension other small businesses, will be hurt tremendously if net neutrality ceases to exist. Small businesses often rely on the internet as a cost-effective form of advertising. The internet allows small businesses to reach people around the world at a much cheaper rate than traditional media. If net neutrality is abolished, small businesses will no longer be able to compete against large corporations for cheap ad-space on the internet. Large corporations will have the money to advertise on sites that are more accessible to consumers.
In short, this is a very big deal. Just ask Netflix...who had a brief fallout with Comcast...their streaming content was streaming noticeably slower until they reached a compromise with the internet service provider. Lo and behold, in February, they began to see an immediate improvement (or perhaps just restoration of where it once was) in streaming speed. Netflix was literally held hostage by Comcast until its demands were met. It's naive to think they playing field will ever be completely level, but steps should definitely be taken to ensure that we're doing all we can.