Opinion: Killing Net Neutrality is Bad for Pro Creators and Growing Businesses

Opinion: Killing Net Neutrality is Bad for Pro Creators and Growing Businesses

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is driving forward a vote to kill net neutrality, scheduled to happen next week on December 14th. We’re adding our voice in opposition to this potentially devastating decision. Maintaining net neutrality is vital to emerging tech companies like PhotoShelter, and it’s also vital to independent creative businesses like the pro photographers we serve.

Net neutrality isn’t an esoteric concept. Rather, it’s a fundamental protection that exists to foster the fair evolution of the internet that we enjoy today. Net neutrality is the principle that individuals should be free to access all content and applications equally, regardless of the source, without Internet Service Providers discriminating against specific online services or websites. In other words, it is the principle that the company that connects you to the internet does not get to control what you do on the internet. (Thanks to Public Knowledge for that very clear description.) 

Net neutrality rules require ISPs to connect users to all lawful content on the internet equally, without giving preferential treatment to certain sites or services. Without net neutrality rules in place, large ISPs like Verizon and Comcast will gain an imbalance of power. They can assert control over how you enjoy Internet service as a consumer, and they can control the speed and performance of the delivery of that content. Hence, ISPs will have the power to prevent users from visiting some websites, can provide faster speeds for preferred content services (e.g. large paying partners). Hence, services unwilling to pay for faster routes may be relegated to slower delivery speeds. There is fear that ISPs could even redirect users from one website to a competing partner website.  

In the deregulated environment that could emerge, smaller players will lose. This creates a near stifling bar for emerging technology companies and content providers to overcome. In our world, we work with professionals who excel at visual storytelling. My major concern is that these small businesses can be easily squeezed out. Today, creative professionals have a more even playing field upon which they can attract traffic and share their content online. Without net neutrality, imagine searching for your favorite creators photos and videos, only to be redirected to a behemoth agency who can afford special rates with their ISP.  Beyond this, killing net neutrality will constrain the future creation of innovative new platforms and vehicles for visual stories to be told.

The average consumer certainly loses as well – less content diversity, less choice in service providers, and of course, potentially higher fees as the cost for faster bandwidth is passed on.

The safeguards of net neutrality must be preserved.

What you can do:

Learn more and form your own opinion.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation https://www.eff.org/issues/net-neutrality

Public Knowledge   https://www.publicknowledge.org/

Battle for the Net   https://www.battleforthenet.com/

Tell your elected officials that killing net neutrality is unacceptable.

EFF Contact Form https://act.eff.org/action/protect-the-open-internet-order

Protest

Battle for the Net Events https://events.battleforthenet.com/

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This article was written by

PhotoShelter CEO. Follow on Twitter: @awfingerman and Instagram: @awfinger

There are 12 comments for this article
  1. Reagan at 12:21 pm

    Are there arguments in favor of eliminating net neutrality? I tend to be skeptical when I see a one-sided presentation of a debate. Not saying I disagree, only that it would be great if people arguing for one side or the other would present both sides of the issue.

    • Bill Mathews at 2:19 pm

      Eliminating net neutrality means my ISP (and in my area I have no choice of ISP) can control every aspect of my usage of the Internet – which Web sites I can visit, which sites have speeds fast enough to make viewing reasonable, which organizations I receive e-mails from, and more.
      I prefer government oversight to prevent these things from happening.

  2. Bill Mathews at 1:14 pm

    May I make a suggestion?

    The only thing that has a chance of keeping net neutrality is if we can make it clear that we will drastically cut the services we buy from our ISPs if net neutrality is eliminated.

    In plain language, threaten their $$.

    As long as Comcast et. al believe that destroying net neutrality will make them more money, 20 million could sign a petition and it wouldn’t make any difference.

    After a good bit of searching, I’m still unable to find an e-mail address to contact Comcast management, or a complete USPS address for physical mail. (The mailing address on their Web site has neither a street nor P.O. box, nor a ZIP code. My understanding that with such an incomplete address, the USPS will not deliver mail.)

    This isn’t accidental. I’d not be surprised if the other major ISPs are equally hard to contact.

    So I call upon you to publish and distribute the contact information for the major ISPs’ management, so we can make it clear that the elimination of net neutrality will mean a significant reduction in the monies they get from us.

  3. Pingback: Opinion: Killing Net Neutrality is Bad for Pro Creators and Growing Businesses – The Click
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  5. Lauren Anderson at 6:51 pm

    “Net neutrality [is] a fundamental protection that exists to foster the fair evolution of the internet that we enjoy today.”

    The internet we enjoy today evolved just fine for 25 years before the FCC “net neutrality” regulations were finalized 2 years ago. Can anyone see a significant improvement in the last 2 years because of “net neutrality”? No? Then let’s restore freedom to the internet and get rid of the FCC’s needless regulation.

  6. Jay at 12:01 am

    Let the free market handle it.

    If an ISP blocks info, and customers are mad, another ISP can provide better access and steal customers,
    consumers have all the power, we can change the world by who we choose to do business with.

    That is how it has been since the start of the internet, do not give the government and more power than it already has.

  7. Jay Napoli at 12:25 pm

    Absolutely wrong… you say, “In the deregulated environment that could emerge, smaller players will lose. ”

    It WAS the deregulated environment and the smaller players that got us the internet we enjoy today. Net neutrality is a misnomer. It is the status quo. The status quo is bad, it means, “I got mine, now screw you!”

    An open and unregulated internet should provide MORE opportunities, not fewer. More competition, not less.

    Sure, some short-term disruption to the status quo will happen. But any bad business practices will be rejected by the open market. Not some wrong-headed regulators. When the government says, “We’re here to help,” you know you’re in trouble.

    You’ve got it all wrong.

    Joe

  8. Felix at 7:32 am

    My jawas dropped when reading the comments here.

    There are really guys who believe that net neutrality is something NEW? That it will bring MORE REGULATION?

    Net neutrality is as old as the internet, in fact you could call it the heart of the internet as we know it. If you ditch net neutrality, you ditch the internet. What is left, is a bunch of “services”. A few big players will profit from that. However, for a free information society, it is horrible.

    Just look what happens in Portugal. You want THAT to happen? Really?

    I am wondering if this is astroturfing I’m seeing here.

    Felix

  9. PDLanum at 1:08 pm

    Now that Net Neutrality is gone just think about this.

    You have a 100Mbs connection and you want to upload your images to a third party cloud storage. Since your ISP does not “own” the cloud based solution your ISP can and most likely throttle your connection to say 1Mbs.

    Now just try to have your customers get to your Photoshelter site. It is your ISP that has control over your income. Welcome to your new world, the walled garden you live in starts at your external connection. Back to snail mail for photographers.

  10. RSLawrence at 11:11 am

    “Net neutrality” is what we had in reality BEFORE the Obama administration tried to regulate the internet like a utility. If you want to kill off the ability to flourish like it did before 2015 just put the rules back the way that the “government knows best” regulators wanted. I’ve never seen a more uninformed group as those that want freedom rolled back. Tell me, what has worked better with government involvement….

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