Are you ready to pay extra to allow your customers to access your site at the same speed as your competitors? Are you willing to pay a “commercially reasonable” fee just to keep your website from downloading more slowly than a site from a bigger company that is willing to pay more for faster access? On Thursday, May 15, 2014, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) paved the way for just that.
The Washington Post reports that the FCC voted in favor of advancing a proposal that could dramatically reshape the way your customers experience the Internet, opening the door for broadband providers to charge websites for higher-quality delivery of their content to American consumers.
This means that a competitor could negotiate faster download speeds for their website. So, for example, if you visited your competitor’s website, it would load is just a few milliseconds, while your website would crawl along using standard download times. That means your site would appear much slower than your competitor’s website, because you couldn’t purchase the fast-lane access.
Granted, the plan is not the final rule, but it’s an important first step toward ending equal access to websites in the United States. The FCC has opened the proposal to 120 days of public comment. The agency will review the comments, and new rules could be in place by the end of 2014.
What Can You Do?
Comments are now open to the public. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is encouraging the public to share their views now. He intends to have rules of the road in place before the end of the year to “protect consumers and entrepreneurs.” He will be listening, and your comments will help inform the final rules. Please send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also submit a comment to the FCC by visiting the FCC website, clicking on the “Take Action” button and then selecting the option to file a public comment. Select proceeding number 14-28 to open the comment form. Then give them an earful!
Note: You will be filing a document into an official FCC proceeding. All information submitted, including names and addresses, will be publicly available via the web.
What does Net Neutrality Mean?
Net neutrality means equal access to all Internet content. The FCC has enforced neutrality on the Internet for many years. The following video created by Public Knowledge gives an overview of what Net Neutrality really means.