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Will net neutrality repeal kill the next YouTube?

In a move that sent shockwaves around the world, the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to repeal the net neutrality laws that kept the internet open and free, paving the way for service providers to effectively throttle certain content and decide who can access what and how. While appeals are likely and the battle continues, the question of what this really means, particularly for business becomes even more crucial.

Concerns around the repeal of net neutrality laws, the regulation that forces Internet service providers to treat all data on the Internet the same and not charge differently for types of content or other elements, have centered on consumer access. The implications for business are not fully clear as yet, but depending on how ISPs react to this freedom the consequences could be significant, especially for smaller businesses.

 

Will this kill innovation and stifle competition?

For many, the core impact for business will be a stifling of innovation and competition. The startup ecosystem, for example, could be hampered as a result of privileging certain traffic or websites over others. Mehdi Daoudi, CEO of Catchpoint, a New York City-based digital experience monitoring (DEM) company, says his main concern is that startups will not be able to compete with the much faster load times of large companies.

“Net neutrality provided a level playing field for any site’s ability to deliver superior performance – fast loading, reliability – which allows them to attract and retain users. Now any new service, which does not have the resources to afford CDNs or other techniques to compensate for throttling, will be at an automatic disadvantage in a world where everyone expects lightning-fast load times,” Daoudi says.

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Bianca Wright

Bianca Wright is a UK-based freelance business and technology writer, who has written for publications in the UK, the US, Australia and South Africa. She holds an MPhil in science and technology journalism and a DPhil in Media Studies.

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