What is Net Neutrality?
Net Neutrality is the concept that everything on the internet should be equally accessible and unregulated. Up until just a few years ago, the Internet was considered a type I Neutrality which meant that it was anything goes. However, it was changed to Type II Net Neutrality which means that businesses can be free to affect entities on the internet however they choose.
This famously resulted in the Comcast/Netflix fiasco where Comcast purposefully slowed down Netflix speeds because they owned Hulu. While this cut straight through ethics as a service provider and a content marketer, Netflix had to pay a multi-billion dollar contract to have their internet speeds uninterrupted.
Announced today, the FCC chairman Ajit Pai (a former Verizon employee) announced they were going to rescind Net Neutrality together and let service providers do with the internet what they will.
While it does seem bleak and grim for your everyday internet browsing, can this have any negative ramifications on international trade?
How does Net Neutrality Affect International Trade?
This negatively affects international trade in 3 ways: Indeterminate Internet Prices, Limited Access to Resources, Scale Tipping for Trade.
Indeterminate Internet Prices
Since Internet Service Providers will be able to restrict and limit your internet usages depending on what they deem just, it can mean that your internet and the internet services of your customs broker or freight forwarder can be limited and vary greatly. While this would be a standard operating expense for business, depending on the bandwidth usage, it could cause an uptick in prices on the sending and receiving side.
Limited Access to Resources
Additionally, this can limit your access to certain resources. If a company can only afford to have a certain service package or has their pages limited by their ISP, it could make things harder for the importer to answer simple questions that they could with an untethered internet.
For Example, if you typically browse a forum for answers, that forum could be limited or deindexed from your ISP’s search engine if they use a certain host, ISP, or program that your current ISP doesn’t permit.
Scale Tipping for Trade
Finally, as is evident by the Netflix fiasco previously mentioned, you can be surcharged for using the wrong marketplace. If an ISP like AT&T or Comcast decides to open up online marketplaces to compete with the likes of Amazon or Alibaba, it could mean those websites are censored, and you will have to use AT&T’s or Comcast’s specific gateway.
For example, if you are on an Apple iPhone, and Apple was your ISP, they could force you to use Apple Maps instead of Google Maps regardless of quality.
Is there anything that can be Done?
The only thing that we can do is contact our state representatives and do the best we can to sway them to vote down the net neutrality repeal.
Not only will this affect international trade and the rates we are already paying, but it will affect every individual’s life differently. From the browsing habits, we have to the shows we like to watch.
Click this link here to place your phone on a call list and speak to your representative today.
Net Neutrality is a serious infringement on our rights and on what a free and open internet can provide. Please make an effort to contact your chairman and have Net Neutrality stay instead of taken away.
All of these initiatives are doing great things for the world, and they are also bolstering the kind of healthy competition that the world needs for positive trade movement. Expect some industries to starve during these times such as gas stations and gas prices, but now is the time to get into technology and solar power.