Editor’s Note: The net neutrality questions businesses can no longer ignore

net neutrality
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A lot of digital marketing budget may already have been set for the coming year, but the end of net neutrality could force all kinds of B2B CMOs to revise their numbers.

Although largely positioned as a consumer rights issue, the lead-up to this past Thursday’s FCC vote to repeal the net neutrality rules could mean big changes for the way businesses work with each other. Given that a lot enterprise professionals may have been heads-down this trying to get ready for the holiday season, here’s a quick summary of what happened from The Verge:

In a 3-2 vote, the Federal Communications Commission approved a measure to remove the tough net neutrality rules it put in place just two years ago . . . (It means Internet providers can block, throttle, and prioritize content if they wish to. The only real rule is that they have to publicly state that they’re going to do it.

Of course, a lot of businesses tend to try and avoid overtly political conversations, but some experts suggest they should have spoken up a lot more loudly, even if they had no direct affiliation with the ISindustry. Ryan Singel, media and strategy fellow at Stanford Law Center’s School For Internet And Society, was among the lone voices looking at the enterprise implications in an interview with Cascade insights, which concluded:

Businesses may be forced to pay more for the same services they access today. Businesses might also find there is less choice among SaaS apps or cloud services to purchase. Further, in order to cope with new costs, businesses may have to radically alter their pricing structures and budgets.

This is all still speculation, of course, but speculating is all we can really do at the moment. The real fallout will only unfold over time. Still, I can’t stop thinking about this quote from a recent post on Martech Today that reflected on what we may have just thrown away: 

(The Internet) has evolved into this planet’s most powerful communications vehicle, now encompassing almost every other communication channel. And that growth has been built on one central idea: Every company, every organization and every individual has essentially the same ability to reach every internet user in the world. Larger players had bigger motors and much more fuel, but everyone used the same road. That may now change radically, and it’s not yet clear where the new roads will lead.

The B2B sector is filled with people ready to talk about innovation and growth, but not necessarily about the things that would imperil innovation and growth. If net neutrality is gone for good, there may be a number of businesses who one day wish they hadn’t taken such a neutral position.

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Shane Schick
Shane Schick is the Editor-in-Chief of B2B News Network. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and was the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.