As many people know, with the appointment of Ajit Pai, the current FCC commissioner, Net Neutrality is now at stake with a upcoming vote on December 14th. Is this important to those within the photography field, well of course it is. It is almost a done deal that the FCC will kill net neutrality by at least a slim margin. If the results shape us as expected, it will almost certainly increase the cost of doing business for everyone except for the largest businesses.
In the world today, Monopolies such as Verizon or Comcast have little say what goes through the internet, and ISP's have limited ability to charge more to certain companies, or to slow down connections to the point of almost being unusable. ISP's can not, as of today, limit access simply based on whether or not the ISP finds an individual or company desirable.
Those in favor of killing net neutrality provide reasons such as companies such as Google that send massive amount of data through the internet such as video or services such as Skype that allow people to make free phone calls using the internet. Proponents of killing net neutrality claim that ISP's should be receiving added income from those who are put strain in the internet.
Of course, companies such as Google, with significant financial assets, would likely pay the additional fees if or when net neutrality would die. Would the ISP's apply the same fees to smaller companies, the answer is probably yes. Could this cause certain businesses to fail... probably. In a sinister way of thinking, would companies such as NBC get priority bandwidth over other companies who may not have as deep of a financial pocket? Officially, no according to those who wish to kill the act. Indeed would individuals pay more for a slower internet connection?
Certainly there is a risk of antagonizing customers, but today many people and almost every business is heavily dependent on the internet for a variety of services. The dependence is certainly not slowing down, with megabytes or gigabytes of transferred data now becoming terabytes of data almost on a daily basis. Companies are now becoming very dependent upon the "Cloud" , with other options being less efficient for a competitive business. Almost for certain, even for the individual, costs will increase if the vote kills net neutrality.
There certainly are scores of articles discussing the upcoming vote, so keep your eyes and ears open for the final vote on December 14th, 2017!
Bob Barford is a published photographer based in Southern PA.